Geraldine Brooks (writer)
14 September 1955 |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Spouse||Tony Horwitz (1984-present)|
Geraldine Brooks (born 14 September 1955) is an Australian American journalist and author whose 2005 novel, March, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. While retaining her Australian passport, she became an United States citizen in 2002.
A native of Sydney, Geraldine Brooks grew up in its inner-west suburb of Ashfield, where she attended the all-girls' Bethlehem College and the University of Sydney. Following graduation, she was a rookie reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and, after winning a Greg Shackleton Memorial Scholarship, moved to the United States, completing a Master's degree at New York City's Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1983. The following year, in the Southern France artisan village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, she married American journalist Tony Horwitz and converted to his religion, Judaism. As a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, she covered crises in Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East, with the stories from the Persian Gulf which she and her husband reported in 1990, receiving the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for "Best Newspaper or Wire Service Reporting from Abroad". In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2010 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Brooks' first book, Nine Parts of Desire (1994), based on her experiences among Muslim women in the Middle East, was an international bestseller, translated into 17 languages. Foreign Correspondence (1997), which won the Nita Kibble Literary Award for women's writing, was a memoir and travel adventure about a childhood enriched by penpals from around the world, and her adult quest to find them.
Her first novel, Year of Wonders, published in 2001, became an international bestseller. Set in 1666, the story depicts a young woman's battle to save fellow villagers as well as her own soul when the bubonic plague suddenly strikes her small Derbyshire village of Eyam.
Her next novel, March (2005), was inspired by her fondness for Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, which her mother had given her. To connect that memorable reading experience to her new status in 2002 as an American citizen, she researched the Civil War historical setting of Little Women and decided to create a chronicle of wartime service for the "absent father" of the March girls. Some aspects of this chronicle were informed by the life and philosophical writings of the Alcott family patriarch, Amos Bronson Alcott, whom she profiled under the title "Orpheus at the Plow", in the 10 January 2005 issue of The New Yorker, a month before March was published. The parallel novel was generally well received by the critics. It was selected in December 2005 selection by the Washington Post as one of the five best fiction works published that year. In April 2006, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
In her next novel, People of the Book (2008), Brooks explored a fictionalized history of the Sarajevo Haggadah. This novel was inspired by her reporting (for The New Yorker) of human interest stories emerging in the aftermath of the 1991–95 breakup of Yugoslavia. The novel won both the Australian Book of the Year Award and the Australian Literary Fiction Award in 2008.
Her 2011 novel Caleb's Crossing is inspired by the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, a Wampanoag convert to Christianity who was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, an achievement of the seventeenth century. Brook's "The Idea of Home" [107 pages], her 2011 Boyer Lectures given annually on invitation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reveals her passionate humanist values which inevitably enter her home, literature.
"The Secret Chord" (2015) is a historical novel based on the life of the biblical King David in the period of the Second Iron Age.
Awards and nominations
- 2006: Pulitzer Prize for March
- 2008: Australian Publishers Association's Literary Fiction Book of the Year for People of the Book
- 2009: Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award
- 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award 
- Year of Wonders. 2001. ISBN 0-670-91021-X.
- March. 2005. ISBN 0-670-03335-9.
- People of the Book. 2008. ISBN 0-00-717743-7.
- Caleb's Crossing. 2011. ISBN 9780670021048.
- The Secret Chord. 2015. ISBN 9780733632174.
- Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women. 1994. ISBN 0-385-47576-4.
- Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over. 1997. ISBN 0-385-48269-8.
- Boyer Lectures 2011: The Idea of Home (or "At Home in the World"). 2011. ISBN 978-0-7333-3025-4.
Reviews and Criticism of Brooks' work
- "Geraldine Brooks biographical details at NNDB". Nndb.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Marquis Who's Who (2009). New Providence: Reed Reference Electronic Publishing
- "Geraldine Brooks interviewed by Julia Baird for ''ABC Sunday Profile'' (23 April 2006)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "The wandering Haggadah: Novel follows journey of ancient Sephardic text (''J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California'', 25 January 2008)". Jewishsf.com. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "OPC Awards: 1990 Award Winners". Overseas Press Club of America. Retrieved 21 December 2006.[dead link]
- "The Pulitzer Prizes — 2006 Winners". The Pulitzer Board. Archived from the original on 20 December 2006. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
- "The Book of Exodus". The New Yorker. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
- "Brooks Wins Book of the Year Award". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
- "The Secret Chord". Author website. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Brooks wins Book of the Year award", The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2008
- Althea Peterson, "2009 Helmerich award winner has unusual past", Tulsa World, 19 February 2009.
- Geraldine Brooks official website
- Geraldine Brooks interviewed by Ramona Koval on ABC Radio National's The Book Show, regarding her novel, People of the Book
- Write TV Public Television Interview with Geraldine Brooks
- "A Muslim Response to 'Nine Parts of Desire'", Resources for and about Muslim Women, Jannah.org
- Geraldine Brooks' Civil War March, NPR
- Trisha Ping, Interview: "An Idealist at War", Book Page, 2005
- 2008 Interview: Geraldine Brooks, Littoral, blog -Key West Literary Seminar
- Audio: Geraldine Brooks reading from March, Key West Literary Seminar, 2009
- Geraldine Brooks at the Internet Movie Database