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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An Interview with Gail Godwin about 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
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 ...
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