As many children do, Geraldine Brooks grew up devouring tales from faraway lands, replete with landscapes and monuments foreign to her own suburban Sydney home. Her books’ settings were hardly fictional however: The Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden take place in a very real but distant world—England. “They were good books, but they came between me and my country,” Brooks says. “Australia had been an independent nation since 1901, but in the 1960s, my imagination was still a British colony.” Read More >
Though she originally planned on composing a great Australian novel, instead she has produced a large body of international bestsellers whose characters and themes transcend geographic boundaries. Her first novel, the international bestseller Year of Wonders, follows a young woman’s battle to save her family and her soul from the plague in a small Derbyshire village in 1666. People of the Book is an intricate, ambitious novel that traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from Convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia. The Pulitzer Prize-winning and internationally best-selling novel March retells Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women from the point of view of “Mr. March,” the absent father who goes off to war. Her most recent bestseller, Caleb’s Crossing, takes place in 1665 Martha's Vineyard and centers on a forbidden friendship.
In her keynotes, Geraldine Brooks shares her insights into “The Writing Life”—the title of a Washington Post article of hers on her desire to write about her native Australia—with audiences throughout the world. She explains that in order to write about—or simply understand—one’s native country or culture, one must approach it like a foreigner in order to reap all of its richness.
Brooks grew up in Australia. She attended Sydney University and worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald. As the Greg Shackleton Memorial Scholar, she completed a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York City. Subsequently, Brooks worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. In 1990, Brooks (with Tony Horwitz) received the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for Best Newspaper or Wire Service Reporting from Abroad for coverage of the Persian Gulf.
Brooks is also the author of Foreign Correspondence, a travel and adventure memoir which chronicles a childhood enriched by pen pals from around the world and her adult quest to find them. Foreign Correspondence won the Nita B. Kibble Award for women’s writing. Her first book of nonfiction, Nine Parts of Desire, was based on her experiences among the Muslim women of the Middle East and is an international bestseller that has been translated into 17 languages. Read Less ^