DAVID IRELAND, born in Lakemba, NSW, first came to notice in 1958 when his play Image in the Clay shared third prize in a competition. After pursuing a variety of occupations, he became a full-time writer. He has written another play, The Virgin of Treadmill Street, as well as poetry, but is best known for his novels, for which he won the Miles Franklin Award on three occasions (1971, 1976 and 1979).