Susanna De Vries lectures at the University of Queensland Continuing Education Department and to women’s groups. Her father was a well-known Anglo-Irish writer and BBC broadcaster. She studied art history and history at the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Madrid and has worked in various European cities. Susanna arrived in Brisbane in 1975 with her former husband, a professor at the University of Queensland. In 1980 they moved to Sydney and Susanna became Head of Rare Books and Australiana of a leading Art Auctioneer. She edited The Australian Connoisseur and Collector magazine before returning to Brisbane where her marriage broke down. Two years later she married Jake de Vries, City Architect of Brisbane and a keen photographer, with whom she has worked on a range of art and history books.
Susanna’s biography of Australia’s most decorated woman, Blue Ribbons, Bitter Bread – The Life of Joice NanKivell Loch won Ireland’s Sligo Non-Fiction prize and was short-listed for the Queensland Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction. Susanna was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1996 ‘for services to art and literature’. In 2001 she was awarded a Tyrone Guthrie Fellowship by the Literature Board of the Australia Council. In 2004 HarperCollins published Susanna’s inspiring book, Heroic Australian Women in War and Pandanus Press/Tower Books of Sydney published the third and updated edition of her award-winning biography Blue Ribbons, Bitter Bread. In 2005, HarperCollins published her popular title Great Pioneer Women of the Outback, and in April 2007 will publish To Hell and Back, Sydney Loch’s formerly banned account of fighting in Gallipoli.