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Colleen McCullough was born on June 1, 1937 in Wellington, New South Wales, Australia. She attended Holy Cross College and the University of Sydney. She wanted to pursue a career in medicine but had an allergic reaction to the antiseptic soap that surgeons use to scrub. She decided to study neuroscience and established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney before working as a researcher and teacher at Yale Medical School for ten years. Her first novel, Tim, was published in 1974 and was adapted into a movie starring Mel Gibson. During her lifetime, she wrote 25 novels including The Thorn Birds, An Indecent Obsession, A Creed for the Third Millennium, The Ladies of Missalonghi, the Masters of Rome series, and Bittersweet. The Thorn Birds was adapted into a U.S. television mini-series in 1983, which won four Golden Globe awards. She died after a long illness on January 29, 2015 at the age of 77. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from The Thorn Birds… (more)
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Short biography
Colleen McCullough was born in Wellington, an outback town in Australia. Her family life was somewhat rough, her mother being rather aggressive toward her and burning any manuscripts of Colleen's she found. In adulthood, McCullough attempted to become a surgeon, but developed an allergic reaction to the surgical soap and switched to neuroscience. After several years working abroad, she received a position at the famed Yale University. It was during this time that she wrote Tim and her most famous novel, The Thorn Birds. Her success forced her to retire from teaching, and she eventually settled on the isolated Norfolk Island, where she lives with husband Ric Robinson, a descendant of the Bounty mutineers. 

In recent years, McCullough has completed numerous novels, including the controversial The Independence of Mis Mary Bennet, her Masters of Rome series, and several stand along works. She is a National Living Treasure of Australia and still uses a typewriter to complete her novels.
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