The daughter of a doctor and a musician, Australian poet, essayist, and short story writer Fay Zwicky was born in Melbourne as Julia Fay Rosefield. She earned a BA at the University of Melbourne and trained as a classical pianist, performing with her sisters as the Rosefield Trio for a decade before turning her focus to writing.
Zwicky’s poems explore gender, the Jewish faith, and the use and misuse of political power. In an interview with the Age newspaper, Zwicky addressed the political focus of her later poetry: “My poems are getting a bit engrossed by the political state of things at the moment … leaning towards a study of despotism, the waste of life and the need for survival.” She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Picnic (2006), Kaddish and Other Poems (1982), and Isaac Babel’s Fiddle (1975), as well as The Lyre in the Pawnshop: Essays on Literature and Survival 1974–1984 (1986) and the short story collection Hostages (1983).
Zwicky has won the Western Australia Premier’s Book Award three times, as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, the Patrick White Award, and the Christopher Brennan Award. She taught at the University of Western Australian from 1972 until her retirement in 1987. Zwicky was declared a State Living Treasure in 2004.