A neuroscinetist turned author: A life well lived
Colleen McCullough, the internationally famous Australian author (The Thorn Birds), has died in hospital on Norfolk Island at the age of 77.
She was a neuroscientist by training, and worked in various Sydney and English hospitals. After that she did 10 years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the US.
In her spare time, she wrote “The Thorn Birds,” her international best seller that sold more than 30 million copies.
But later she became a full-time author, and for nearly 40 years McCullough was one of Australia’s top-selling novelists.
Before becoming a best selling author McCullough also established the neurophysiology department at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
Colleen McCullough was awarded the Order of Australia for “service to the arts and to the community”.
Pic Source: News Limited
As a girl, Ms. McCullough dreamed of becoming a doctor. She entered medical school at the University of Sydney but was forced to abandon her studies after she developed a severe allergy to the soap widely used in Australian hospitals. She trained instead in neurophysiology, which is concerned with testing for and diagnosing neuromuscular diseases.
Some anecdotes from her life
Aussie Humour: At 32 she was found to have hypothyroidism, which caused depression and weight gain.
But she reckoned that although she’d always looked like the back of a bus, she’d always had boyfriends because “men love a funny woman”.
King sized life: Nearly everything about Ms. McCullough had unrestrained heft: her voice, her laugh, her frame, her opinions, the blizzard of cigarettes she smoked each day and, most conspicuously, her books. “The Thorn Birds” clocked in at 533 pages.
Right attitude: When criticised about some aspect of her writing, she said:
“I think in their heart of hearts all these people know that I’m more secure than they are, more confident than they are and smarter than they are,” she said of her critics in a 2007 interview on Australian television”
Read more about her wit on this site