I for Isobel


Amy Witting was born in the Sydney suburb of Annandale, and was brought up as a Catholic. She has "melancholy memories of a repressive family life" and remembered the nuns at her school, St Brendan's College, as being "obsessed with the torments of hell".[3] She suffered from tuberculosis as a child.[4]

She went to Fort Street Girls' High School. She studied languages at the University of Sydney where she met, among others, James McAuley, Harold Stewart and Dorothy Auchterlonie.[5] Subsequently she gained a Diploma of Education at Teachers College and became a school teacher. Her tuberculosis recurred in her early adulthood, resulting in her spending time in a sanitorium which "gave her, for a time, the peace and solitude she always craved".[3]

On 28 July 1934, when Witting was 16, one of her poems, written under the pseudonym De Guesclin, was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.[1] Witting always wrote under a pseudonym. Her name, Amy Witting, is from a promise she made to herself to "never give up on consciousness', not be unwitting, but to always remain 'witting'".[5]

Witting married Les Levick, a fellow high school teacher, in 1948, and they had one son. Greg.[3] She continued to write until her death, dying of cancer a few weeks after the publication of After Cynthia, her last novel, in 2001.

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