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March 24: Melbourne’s Novelist

March 24, 2014

goldsmith_aAustralian writer Andrea Goldsmith, the author of seven novels that all feature central lesbian characters, was born in Melbourne to a fifth-generation Australian family of secular Jews on this date in 1950. Trained as a speech therapist after a slow-to-speak childhood, she began writing fiction at 8 and published short stories in the 1970s while coming out as a lesbian and feminist activist. Self-described as a “long-haul marathon novelist,” she worked on several novels before publishing her first, Gracious Living, in 1989. It was followed by Modern Interiors, 1991; Facing the Music, a mystery, 1994; Under the Knife, 1998; The Prosperous Thief, 2002, her most acclaimed book, set in part in Holocaust-era Germany; Wild Surmise, a novel in verse, 2003; Reunion, 2009; and The Memory Trap, 2013. Her published essays include writings about Homer, about Auschwitz, about mourning her great love, poet Dorothy Porter, who died in 2008, and about Jewish Australian experience (“Talmudic Excursions”), among other topics (you can read some of these by clicking here).

“I write fiction because I cannot resist it — nor do I want to. I write because I’m defenseless against the seductions of story-telling. I write because I delight in slipping beneath the skin of people — characters — who are not myself. I write because I love language and am intrigued by the intricacies of meaning. I write because there’s nothing else I prefer to do.” —Andrea Goldsmith