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Gail Godwin biography

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Gail Godwin
© John Kleinhans

Gail Godwin

Gail Godwin Biography

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award nominee and the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including A Mother and Two Daughters, Violet Clay, Father Melancholy's Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband, Evenings at Five, The Making of a Writer, Volumes 1 and 2, Unfinished Desires and Flora.

She worked briefly as a reporter for the Miami Herald, and then traveled to Europe and worked for the U.S. Travel Service at the U.S. Embassy in London. She returned to the U.S. after six years, and attended the University of Iowa, earning her M.A. (1968) from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and PhD (1971) in English Literature.

She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She wrote libretti for ten musical works with her long-time companion, composer Robert Starer, who died in 2001.

Gail Godwin's website

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Interview

Gail Godwin discusses her novel Queen of the Underworld, and her memoir The Making of a Writer, both published in early 2006.

Your twelfth novel, Queen of the Underworld, is based on some of your own experiences as a young journalist just out of college. How much is Emma Gant like you?
What was it like to re-live that time when you were writing the novel? Is it easier or harder to write a novel based on personal experiences?

Two incidents from my reporting days on the Miami Herald lurked in my imagination for decades before they finally bubbled up into Emma Gant's determined pursuit of Ginevra Snow, the young ex-madam known as "Queen of the Underworld."

The first incident was a routine story the Herald assigned me in 1959. After the famous New York trial of her boyfriend and pimp Mickey Jelke, "the oleo-margarine heir," the former call girl Pat Ward had quietly married an osteopath and they lived in Hollywood, Florida. My bureau chief in Hollywood asked me to phone the husband and see what I could get out of him about Pat's latest suicide attempt. Well, the husband answered the phone and when I identified myself, he said in a really kind but crushed voice, "I wish you could understand how hard this is for us. I don't want to say anymore. Please leave us alone." That's ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Gail Godwin at BookBrowse
Grief Cottage jacket Flora jacket Unfinished Desires jacket Queen of the Underworld jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gail Godwin but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

    Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

    Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (b. 1978) was born and raised in Philadelphia. In 1996, she graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia, and moved to New York City to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

    ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Flora

    Try:
    Dr. Mütter's Marvels
    by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

  • John Banville

    John Banville

    John Banville, the author of seventeen novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Queen of the Underworld

    Try:
    The Sea
    by John Banville

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