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Goldie at ASU


The past few days, I’ve been at the incredible Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference, a writing conference that takes place at the Arizona State University in Phoenix. It’s a brilliantly organized conference and the teachers (all writers) have prepared in depth and fascinating classes. Hopefully the classes I taught were too! I’m grateful to Matt Bell and Meredith Martinez, who made this conference so successful and so pleasant, and I’m also delighted to have made a new friend, Angela Savage, a crime writer from Melbourne (she’s the lady standing next to Dominic Smith (of Sarah de Vos fame) and just above me in the photo. It was great fun finding all the Aussies at the conference for this Aussies in Arizona photo. And it was really illuminating to chat about the process of researching Gwen in a panel with Dominic Smith and Adrienne Celt, two extreme smarty pants. Outclassed but loving it!


Workshopping 2


I do developmental editing for novelists, nonfiction writers and poets. It’s fun! For me at least. Probably not so much fun for the people who employ me. Testimonials coming soon. Hit me up at if you have a manuscript that needs an editor.



The work of researching Gwen took several years, both in archives and in libraries across the world. I am very grateful for the assistance of the Musee Rodin in Paris, and for the libraries at the University of Chicago and at Northwestern University, because they enabled me to find many contemporary books about Paris in the early 1900’s. I was also lucky to be able to speak with Sir Michael Holroyd, the biographer of Augustus John, and with Cecily Langdale, the well-known gallerist and compiler of Gwen’s Catalogue Raisonné. And the lovely assistant curator at MOMA, Lilian Tone, allowed me to visit the painting that inspired the book, Girl with a Blue Scarf. If you are interested in reading more about Gwen, you can’t go wrong with any of these books. The starred books were my personal favourites.


Berr, Helene. The Journal of Helene Berr.
Butler, Ruth. Rodin: The Shape of Genius
*Chitty, Susan. Gwen John. London: F. Watts, 1987
Clark, Timothy J. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers.
Cody, Morrill. Women of Montparnasse.
*Foster, Alicia. Gwen John. Princeton University Press, 1999
Corbett,Rachel. You Must Change Your Life. Norton, 2016
Getsy, David. Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture.
Glassco, John. Memoirs of Montparnasse.
Grunfeld, Frederic. Rodin: A Biography.
Hall, S.C. Tenby; Its History, Antiquities, Scenery, Traditions and Customs.British Library, 2011
*Holroyd, Michael. Augustus John: The New Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996.
Jenkins, David Fraser. Gwen John and Augustus John. London: Tate, 2004
Jenkins, David Fraser. Gwen John at the National Museum of Wales. National Museums and Galleries of Wales, 1976.
John, Augustus. Chiaroscuro.
Klarsfeld, Serge. French Children of the Holocaust: A Memorial.
Langdale, Cecily. Gwen John: An Interior Life. New York: Rizzoli, 1986
*Langdale, Cecily. Gwen John, With a Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and a Selection of the Drawings (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art). New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987
Lavizzari, Alexandra. Gwen John: Rodins Kleine Muse. Germany: Zytglogge-Verlag, 2001
Le Normand-Romaine, Antoinette. Rodin. Abbeville Press, 2014
Levy, Claude. Betrayal at the Vel D’Hiv.
*Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen. Gwen John: Letters and Notebooks. London: Tate, 2005
Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen. Gwen John Papers at the National Library of Wales. National Library of Wales, 1988.
Miller, Sarah Lew. Hiding in Plain Sight: Eluding the Nazis in Occupied France.
Nicholson, Virginia. Amongst the Bohemians: Experiments in Living.
Price, Sean. Varian Fry: A Hero of the Holocaust.
*Rilke, Rainer Maria. Auguste Rodin.
Rodin, Auguste. Erotic Watercolours.
*Roe, Sue. Gwen John: A Painter’s Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001
Roe, Sue. The Private Lives of the Impressionists.
Ruelle, Karen Grey. Hidden on the Mountain: Stories of Children Sheltered from the Nazis in Le Chambon
Tamboukou, Maria. Nomadic Narratives, Visual Forces: Gwen John’s Letters and Paintings. Peter Lang, 2010
Taubman, Mary. Gwen John: The Artist and her Work. Cornell University Press, 1986
Thomas, Alison. Gwen John and Her Forgotten Contemporaries. Polity, 1996
Wayne, Kenneth. The Artists of Montparnasse.
*exceptionally useful books



I just heard that I have received a residency at Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois. Everyone tells me it’s the most idyllic place and I’m absolutely thrilled because I always get good work done in rural or quiet places. Yay!

Ragdale is described as “transformative time and space for artists.” Doesn’t that sound lovely?



In 2015, I got to go to the granddaddy of all writing conferences, Bread Loaf. It’s been held in the Green Mountain National Forest in Ripton Vermont since 1926, in old mustard-yellow stick-framed buildings. The buildings are surrounded by meadows of wildflowers, long grasses, forests. There are clouds and birds and rivers. And so many writers.

I find out that I am in Stacey D’Erasmo‘s workshop and I start freaking out, because she is brilliant and analytic and she’ll probably shred my work. I practice squeezing out my tears into a little glass vial so I don’t embarrass myself by blubbing, but of course, the workshop turns out to be nothing like that. Stacey is gracious and kind and analytical and wise. Her fellow, Ted Thompson, also gives great notes on my manuscript, which is the first chapter of Gwen.

Stacey's Bread Loaf Workshop

I get to hear phenomenal classes from writers like Chris Castellani and Ted Conover; I sit on the grass and read Mavis Gallant with Lan Samantha Chang; I make puns with Peter Ho Davies; I am charmed by the lovely Amy Holman; I stand under the stars and laugh with Rob Cohen; teachers I admire lip synch to Tom Jones and Beyonce. I make new friends. I surprise myself. I love it and want to go back so desperately that it feels like a childhood memory instead of something I just did.

Bread Loaf 2015

Goldie Goldbloom