REID, Gayla




Author Tags: Fiction

Gayla Reid grew up in a country town in New South Wales where both her parents worked on the local newspaper. She came to Canada in 1967. The characters in her debut collection of fiction, To Be There With You, mostly grow up Catholic in Australia in the 1950s and reach adulthood during the decade of the Vietnam War. This collection won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 1995.

Opening in Saigon, her first novel, All the Seas of the World, is about a childhood friendship between two women that spans two men, three decades and four continents. Dierdre and Bernadette discuss and explore their intimacies with two men, a journalist in Argentina and Dierdre’s perpetual saviour.

Reid's second collection of stories depicts three generations of the McGinty family. Ten stories span 100 years of Australian history, from Sydney’s Victorian neighbourhoods to New South Wales’ sleepy sheep farms, to Aussie soldiers fleeing the Japanese.

Reid's stories have won various competitions and prizes. In 2006 she received the $15,000 Marian Engel Award for a female writer in mid-career for a body of work.

The publisher's synopsis for Gayla Reid's fourth work of fiction, Coming From Afar, reads, "In England in the spring of 1939, Clancy, an Australian nurse, waits with her infant daughter for news of her lover, who was a volunteer with the Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. As she waits, Clancy shares with her daughter the story of her own childhood in the Australian bush and her disastrous marriage to an English archaeologist. When the Spanish Civil War erupted, Clancy volunteered on the Republican side. Her chance for happiness amid the chaos came when she met the young Canadian, Douglas Ross. She has not heard from him since the final desperate offensive."

BOOKS:

To Be There With You (Douglas & McIntyre 1994) - stories
All the Seas of the World (Stoddart 2000) - novel, 0-7737-3280-2
Closer Apart: The Ardara Variations (Stoddart 2002) - stories, 0-7737-3337-X
Coming From Afar (Cormorant 2011] 9781770860445 $32


[BCBW 2011] "Fiction"