|Born||5 December 1929|
|Died||23 February 2019(aged 89)|
|Alma mater||University of Reading|
|Notable works||The Leather Boys|
|Children||Harriet Thorpe (daughter)|
Matilda Thorpe (daughter)
Gillian Freeman (5 December 1929 – 23 February 2019) was an English writer. Her first book, The Liberty Man, appeared while she was working as a secretary to the novelist Louis Golding. Her fictional diary, Nazi Lady: The Diaries of Elisabeth von Stahlenberg, 1938–48, was assumed by many to be real.
Born to Jewish parents, Dr Jack Freeman, a dentist who had been a physician, and his wife Freda (née Davids) in North London, she attended Francis Holland School in London and Lynton House school in Maidenhead during the Second World War. She graduated in English and philosophy from the University of Reading in 1951. She then taught at a school in the East End and worked as a copywriter and a newspaper reporter.
The Liberty Man (1955) was Freeman's first book, written while working as a literary secretary to the novelist Louis Golding; it was about a love affair between a schoolteacher and a sailor doomed by the class system. Freeman's time with Golding was said to have inspired some of her later works.
One of her best known books was the novel The Leather Boys (1961), published under the pseudonym Eliot George, after the novelist George Eliot, a story of a gay relationship between two young working-class men, one married and the other a biker, which was later turned into a film for which she wrote the screenplay, this time under her own name. The novel was commissioned by the publisher Anthony Blond, her literary agent, who wanted a story about a "Romeo and Romeo in the South London suburbs". Her non-fiction book The Undergrowth of Literature (1967), was a pioneering study of pornography.
The Alabaster Egg (1970) is a tragic romance about a Jewish woman set in Nazi Germany. In 1978, on another commission from Blond, she wrote a fictional diary, Nazi Lady: The Diaries of Elisabeth von Stahlenberg, 1938–48. Freeman's authorship was not at first revealed and many readers assumed it was genuine; it was included in a 2004 anthology of war diaries.
In addition to novels, Freeman wrote screenplays including That Cold Day in the Park, a 1969 film directed by Robert Altman, the scenarios for two ballets by Kenneth MacMillan, Isadora and Mayerling, and with her husband, Ballet Genius (1988), portraits of 20 outstanding ballet dancers. Her final book was But Nobody Lives in Bloomsbury (2006), a fictional study of the Bloomsbury Group.
- The Liberty Man, 1955
- Fall of Innocence, 1956
- Jack Would be a Gentleman, 1959
- The Story of Albert Einstein, 1960
- The Leather Boys, 1961
- The Campaign, 1963
- The Leather Boys (screenplay), 1964
- Only Lovers Left Alive (screenplay), 1965
- The Leader, 1965
- The Undergrowth of Literature, 1967
- That Cold Day in the Park (screenplay), 1969
- An Evasion of Women (short play, alongside pieces by Shena Mackay, Margaret Drabble, and Maureen Duffy), 1969
- The Alabaster Egg, 1970
- I Want What I Want (screenplay), 1972
- The Marriage Machine, 1975
- The Schoolgirl Ethic: The Life and Work of Angela Brazil, 1976
- Mayerling (ballet scenario), 1978
- Intimate Letters (ballet scenario), 1978
- Nazi Lady: The Diaries of Elisabeth von Stahlenberg, 1938–48, 1979
- An Easter Egg Hunt, 1981
- Isadora (ballet scenario), 1981
- Lovechild, 1984
- Life Before Man, 1986
- Ballet Genius: Twenty Great Dancers of the Twentieth Century (with Edward Thorpe), 1988
- Termination Rock, 1989
- His Mistress's Voice, 2000
- But Nobody Lives in Bloomsbury, 2006
- International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004, Routledge, p. 187.
- 'Marriages', The Times, 13 September 1955.
- "Gillian Freeman obituary". The Times. 16 March 2019. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- Harrison Smith, "Gillian Freeman, whose novel 'Leather Boys' was a gay landmark, dies at 89", The Washington Post, 11 March 2019.
- Neil Genzlinger, "Gillian Freeman, Groundbreaking Novelist on a Gay Theme, Dies at 89", The New York Times, 8 March 2019.
- "Gillian Freeman, author whose flair for detail shone through in historical novels and in a 'Romeo and Romeo' love story – obituary", The Telegraph, 4 March 2019.
- Martin Foreman, Review of The Leather Boys (Gillian Freeman) (1986), archived at the Wayback Machine on 2 February 1999.
- Victor E. Neuburg, The Popular Press Companion to Popular Literature, Popular Press, 1983, ISBN 0-87972-233-9, p. 97.
- Anthony Blond, 'Glory Boys', The Sunday Times, 13 June 2004.
- Joel Rickett, "The Bookseller ", The Guardian, 11 December 2004.
- Bethany Layne, "'They Leave out the Person to Whom Things Happened': Re-Reading the Biographical Subject in Sigrid Nunez's Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury (1998)", in: Bloomsbury Influences: Papers from the Bloomsbury Adaptations Conference, Bath Spa University, 5–6 May 2011, ed. E.H. Wright, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2014, ISBN 9781443854344, pp. 30–45, p. 41.
- Irving Wardle, 'Experiment and Expansion', The Times, 1 March 1969.
- Gillian Freeman, 'The making of Mayerling', The Times, 8 February 1978.
- John Percival, 'Sadler's Wells: Intimate Letters', The Times, 11 October 1978.
- John Percival, 'Isadora, Covent Garden', The Times, 1 May 1981.