Gaele Sobott (born 1956) is an Australian author of short stories, non-fiction and children's books.
Life and writing
Gaele was born in Yallourn, Victoria, and lived in Botswana as a citizen for a large part of her life. She taught in the English Department at the University of Botswana. She also lived in France, and England where she completed a Ph.D. on South African women writers. She now lives in Sydney, Australia.
Colour Me Blue is a haunting collection of stories, published by Heinemann African Writers Series. It blends fantasy and reality, melding African history and tradition with the grittiness of everyday life. The stories capture the casual or determined oppression of men and women, the tenderness of human affection and the powerful rhythm of African myth. The politics of personal relationships are explored against a background of social injustice and material hardship. Gaele’s writing is characterised by a 'mixture of traditional story telling and modern day-to-day struggles’.
Her children's fiction includes: The Magic Pool - some children decide to go and find out if stories about the python at the waterhole are true, Tickles about Moabi and Sonti who are helping on a game reserve when an orphaned baby elephant is brought in by the rangers, Weird Wambo lives alone in a baobab tree and children of the village laugh at her until one day they need her help, and Thara Meets the Cassipoohka Man, which addresses global warming and received the Zimbabwe Award for Children's Literature.
She has written on gender relations in Botswana during the Second World War. How the British government sought to increase the food production of the then Bechuanaland Protectorate for export purposes. With so many Batswana men away in the army and the South African mines, this required the intensified use of women's labour. In another essay entitled 'Humans Being', she points to the importance of viewing the being in human being as a verb. Being means we may close down and/or open up human relating, human communicating, human solidarity...writing and sharing stories is an integral part of this being'.
Gaele's more recent work includes the biography, My Longest Round: the life story of Wally Carr. Wally ‘Wait-a-While’ Carr is an Australian Aboriginal ex-champion boxer who held twelve titles in six divisions. From featherweight to heavyweight, one of the last of the fifteen-rounders, he fought an astonishing 101 professional bouts in his 15-year boxing career. My Longest Round provides an Aboriginal man’s perspective on inner-city Sydney; the two-up games, the gangsters, and the way working-class neighbourhoods looked out for each other. From hunting goannas, Jimmy Sharman’s boxing tents, rugby league, professional boxing and the first Aboriginal Tent Embassy, to present-day struggles and lifestyles, this story offers a vital snapshot of Aboriginal and Australian history. Gaele worked very closely with Wally to render a vivid account of his tumultuous life.
She is also editor of Young Days: Bankstown Aboriginal Elders Oral History Project, published in 2013.
Gaele Sobott's work appears in anthologies and collections, and has been translated into various languages.
- J. Madingwane, "A Mixture of Old and New", Mayibuye, Vol. 7, No. 4, May 1996.
- G. Sobott, "Experiences of Batswana Women During the Second World War", Pula Journal of African Studies, Vol. 13, 1 & 2, 1999.
- G. Sobott, 'Humans Being', Sable, Issue 5, 2004.
- Gaele Sobott, "My Longest Round: the life story of Wally Carr", article in Wasafiri (Volume 30, 2015 - Issue 1) on process and life writing
- Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow Interview
- Interview with Accessible Arts
- My Longest Round: the life story of Wally Carr
- Bibliography Bechuanaland Second World War