submitted February, 2002
Irina Dunn has been the Executive Director of the New South Wales Writers'
Centre since December 1992. She has worked as a journalist, book editor, film-maker,
school and TAFE teacher, university lecturer, and parliamentarian.
An honours graduate in English Language and Literature from the University of Sydney,
Irina taught French and English at Frensham Girls School, Mittagong. Since that time she
has been a tutor in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, a teacher of
Communications and English at Sydney Technical College, TAFE, NIDA and the Police Academy,
a project officer in the prisoner literacy program of the Department of Corrective
Services, and a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Policy at the University of New England.
Irina's experience in both in-house and freelance publishing is extensive and varied.
She has been a Senior Editor for Hamlyn Books and Pergamon Press, project editor of the
Reader's Digest book Scenic Wonders of Australia, and editor of the prisoners'
newspaper, Inprint, and the Australian film and television industry trade
magazine, Encore. As a freelancer, she edited the Penguin publications Stirring
the Possum, the autobiography of Jim McClelland, and Roger Milliss' The Serpent's
Tooth. She has also been consultant editor for research studies and publications of
the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW and Federal) and the Australian Museum. She
is currently (1997) writing a handbook for writers.
Her publications include numerous radio, journal and newspaper articles, reviews and
interviews, and her book, A Natural Legacy: Ecology in Australia, of which she
was co-editor and co-author, won the 1979 Royal Zoological Society Prize for the best text
on the subject.
In 1983 she researched, narrated, directed and produced the documentary film,
"Frame Up: Who Bombed the Hilton, Who Didn't", after which she wrote and
directed a second documentary film, "Fighting for Peace", a prize winner at the
1985 San Francisco International Film and Video Festival. Her campaign to free the Ananda
Marga three, of which "Frame-Up" was a part, was instrumental in the release of
the three jailed men.
In July 1988 Irina was elected to Federal Parliament and became an Independent Senator
for New South Wales, serving and served in that capacity until June 1990. During that time
she was a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade,
the Parliamentary Liaison Group on Aids, and the Select Committee examining the
quasi-judicial role of Government tribunals. She represented interests such as nuclear
disarmament, women's issues, Aboriginal matter, the environment and the arts.
Irina was born in Shanghai China & is of Russian, Irish, Portuguese and Chinese