Gail Jones was educated at the University of Western Australia (UWA), later joining the staff as an Associate Professor in the English Department there. In 2001, she won The Australian University Teaching Award in the Humanities and the Arts category. After working at UWA, Jones took up a position as professor within the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney. Her academic interests include gender and narrative theory, literary theory, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, creative writing, contemporary and Australian literature, and cinema studies.
Jones's short stories have appeared in numerous journals and have been highly praised for their linguistic richness and intellectual complexity, their subtle humour and intricate craftwork.
Jones has published seven novels to date (2018). Her structually complex debut novel Black Mirror was described by the judges of the Nita Kibble Literary Award as 'a witty interrogation of the problems faced by the biographer'. She followed this work with Sixty Lights, Dreams of Speaking, Sorry, Five Bells, A Guide to Berlin, and the forthcoming The Death of Noah Glass. Between them, her novels have won the Colin Roderick Award, the Nita Kibble Award (twice), the Western Australian Premier's Book Award (twice), the South Australian Premier's Award, the Barbara Ramsden Award, and the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, and have been shortlisted and longlisted for national and international prizes including the Miles Franklin Award and the Booker Prize. She won the Philip Hodgins Award (for a consistently outstanding Australian writer) in 2011.
'A Guide to Berlin” is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.
'A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone's story.
'Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets. ' (Publication summary)
'On a radiant day in Sydney, four adults converge on Circular Quay, site of the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Crowds of tourists mix with the locals, enjoying the glorious surroundings and the play of light on water.
'But each of the four carries a complicated history from elsewhere; each is haunted by past intimacies, secrets and guilt: Ellie is preoccupied by her sexual experiences as a girl, James by a tragedy for which he feels responsible, Catherine by the loss of her beloved brother in Dublin and Pei Xing by her imprisonment during China's Cultural Revolution.
'Told over the course of a single Saturday, Five Bells describes four lives which chime and resonate, sharing mysterious patterns and symbols. But it is a fifth person, a child, whose presence at the Quay haunts the day and who will overshadow everything that unfolds. By night-time, when Sydney is drenched in a rainstorm, each life has been transformed.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In the remote outback of Western Australia during World War II, English anthropologist Nicholas Keene and his wife, Stella, raise a lonely child, Perdita. Her upbringing is far from ordinary: in a shack in the wilderness, with a distant father burying himself in books and an unstable mother whose knowledge of Shakespeare forms the backbone of the girl's limited education.
'Emotionally adrift, Perdita becomes friends with a deaf and mute boy, Billy, and an Aboriginal girl, Mary. Perdita and Mary come to call one another sister and to share a very special bond. They are content with life in this remote corner of the globe, until a terrible event lays waste to their lives.' (Publisher's blurb)