The Gipsy Dancer: Launch of Australian literary first

A UNSW academic has uncovered long-forgotten work by the late Australian playwright, poet and novelist, Dorothy Hewett.

Dorothy hewett inside

A UNSW academic has uncovered long-forgotten work by the late Australian playwright, poet and novelist, Dorothy Hewett.

Scientia Professor Christine Alexander, with a group of English Masters students, has edited a manuscript written by Dorothy Hewett at the age of 11. The work had been found in the Australian National Library.

The resulting publication The Gipsy Dancer & Early Poems - which features drawings by the author - is being launched at UNSW this week (Thursday, 14 May).

The event will feature a staging of the work with a new music score specially written for the performance of The Gipsy Dancer, by UNSW music and performance students.

This is the first public performance of the musical which was initially written to entertain family and friends and performed on Hewett's 11th birthday in 1934.

"Dorothy Hewett grew up on a huge wheat and sheep farm in Western Australia. Her rural surroundings nurtured a rich imaginative life, recorded in this work," says Professor Alexander, an expert in literary juvenilia, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

"These previously unpublished works reveal her early dramatic flair and her youthful commitment to the world of words.

"The Gipsy Dancer demonstrates Hewett's early passion for theatre, her ambition to both perform and write, and the latent tension this might embody between personal relationships and ambition," says Professor Alexander.

What: Launch of The Gipsy Dancer & Early Poems by Dorothy Hewett
Where: Io Myers Studio, UNSW, Kensington Campus (access via Gate 2)
When: 6pm, Thursday 14 May

Please RSVP to Juvenilia Press as soon as possible.

Media Contact: Susi Hamilton | 9385 1583 | susi.hamilton@unsw.edu.au