Maree Giles is an award-winning Australian author, editor, poet, journalist, creative writing teacher and mentor, and the mother of two grown-up children. She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Kingston University London, 2009 – 2010, and a dissertation supervisor on their Creative Writing MFA. Maree launched her career as a fiction writer after winning first prize in the prestigious SHE/ARVON/Little,Brown short story competition, and was a runner-up in the Ian St James Awards.
Maree has more than thirty years experience working with words and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Australia is the main setting for her books. Injustice, family relationships and parenting, friendship, politics, the arts, people and places, all motivate her to write and to teach others about the craft and joys of writing. Her novels are published by Virago Press, London, and Hachette Australia.
Maree moved to the UK in 1980. She has taught creative writing at some of Australia’s top Writing Centres, such as Varuna, the Writer’s House in Katoomba; the Australian Writer’s Centre, and the NSW Writers’ Centre, and has been a guest speaker at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and the Sydney Writers’ Festival. She has given talks and readings at many events and on national radio in both countries. She has written for Overland Literary Journal, the Evening Star New Zealand, Parents’ magazine London, Woman’s Day magazine Australia, and was a television news producer at Visnews (Reuters) London, and a senior writer at the Bucks Free Press, Buckinghamshire.
Other odd but interesting sidelines included working with underprivileged outback children for the Far West Children’s Health Scheme in Australia. She was a jillaroo on a sheep station near Walgett, NSW. While studying marine biology at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, she was a research assistant at the Portobello Marine Laboratory, Dunedin, a waitress at a pub in deepest Cumbria, a trainee psychiatric nurse at Porirua Hospital near Wellington, New Zealand, a vet’s assistant at a Sydney practice, and an art teacher and swimming instructor at a school for emotionally disturbed children in the Lake District, UK. She has travelled extensively across Europe, and as a young child spent a year living in West Virginia, U.S. Born in Penrith, NSW, Maree grew up surrounded by national park bushland near Sydney. All these experiences have enriched her world view and continue to inform her writing.
Maree is working on her fourth novel, set in Sydney and Paris, against a backdrop of post second world war exuberance and poverty, when Christian Dior’s extravagant New Look silhouette burst onto catwalks and created an international outcry. With the help of the Australian fashion industry, Paris couturiers like Dior and Balmain were soon back on their feet after the deprivations of the Occupation. “This is a story I have been working on for many years, and one that is close to my heart. All my novels have been inspired by my mother, Gloria. She grew up in Botany Bay during the Depression and became a single parent after my father divorced her in the 1950s. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was a feminist. She ran her own successful business, which enabled her to provide me with a good education at one of Sydney’s top schools. She was in her twenties at the time of Dior’s New Look, and remembers it well. She provided a lot of details for the background research about fashion, restaurants, nightclubs, and the unique atmosphere of that exciting post-war era.”
Maree Giles divides her time between London, Sydney and south-west France where she has lived since 2013. Follow her BLOG for news and stories about her travels, her writing, and life in La France profonde, where she continues to struggle with the French language and maintaining a healthy weight.
- “To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- German philosopher (1844 – 1900)