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Marilyn Duckworth Biography

(1935– ), A Gap in the Spectrum, Over the Fence Is Out, Disorderly Conduct, The Matchbox House

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New Zealand novelist, sister of the poet Fleur Adcock, born in Auckland, educated in England and Wellington, including part-time attendance at Wellington University. Her first novel, A Gap in the Spectrum (1959), a science-fiction exploration of a woman's dependency, was published when she was 23 and established the fictional terrain of her early work: the constricting roles ascribed to women are seen to notable effect in Over the Fence Is Out (1969). Widowed once, and married four times, her career was punctuated by a long silence while she brought up her children. Her acclaimed novel Disorderly Conduct (1984), set during the 1981 Springbok tour protests, features a women with four children by three different fathers. Her other novels include The Matchbox House (1960), A Barbarous Tongue (1963), Married Alive (1985), Rest for the Wicked (1986), Pulling Faces (1987), A Message from Harpo (1989), and Unlawful Entry (1992). She has also published Other Lovers' Children: Poems 1958–74 (1975) and Explosions in the Sun (1989), a volume of short stories. She was awarded the OBE in 1987.

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