Shirley Hazzard is an author and recipient of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Born in Australia, Ms. Hazzard traveled the world during her early years, a result of her parents' diplomatic postings. In 1947, at the age of 16, she was engaged by British intelligence to monitor the civil war in China. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. Two of her novels were National Book Award Finalists: The Bay of Noon (1971) and The Transit of Venus (1981). She is also the author of two collections of short stories, and several works of nonfiction, including the memoir Greene on Capri. She now lives in New York, making frequent travels to Italy.