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Gerald Marcus Glaskin

Additional resources


  • Gerald Glaskin's books, short stories and poems
  • Articles about Gerald Glaskin
  • Articles by Gerald Glaskin
  • Reviews of Glaskin's publications
  • Covers of Glaskin's books
  • Collage of Glaskin newspaper headlines

A life lived to the inch


However much one might find fault with Glaskin’s writing or displeasure with aspects of his personality, it is impossible not to acknowledge a life-seeking exuberance in this man who defied the odds and was at times extraordinary. From the nine-year old boy who crouched under a railway line as a train screeched overhead to his last days when he engaged in ferocious verbal battles with hospital staff, he refused to live life on the periphery. Only the centre was good enough for him, and often a painful, explosive centre at that.

Glaskin was primarily an experiential person, not an intellectual one. He approached life by jumping in feet first and recording the experience afterwards. His opinions on a variety of subjects were quickly formed and boldly stated. Although he had dexterity with words, both spoken and written, they were basically tools to project, transfer and extrapolate experiences from his own life to others. He relied heavily on people, places and events he knew first hand as grist for his books and used them to tell a good tale. As his agent, David Bolt, accurately perceived, Glaskin was primarily a first-rate storyteller.

Maybe that is the way Glaskin deserves to be remembered. But he was not just a good storyteller.
​He was one who dared to push the boundaries of acceptability in his choice of subject matter and who experimented with diverse forms and styles of writing to communicate with his readers. To many Australians, he opened windows on their shuttered lives and provoked them to think about issues they had ignored or simply never dealt with. To many readers outside Australia, he offered a glimpse of people and places they had not encountered firsthand. His books, like his life, formed a bridge between vastly different worlds.

When Glaskin died in 2000, he left a legacy worthy of scrutiny and respect. The time has come to give him his due.


John Burbidge

...with thanks to David Buchanan for the title quote

How Glaskin saw himself


  • What a misfit I am! Too late to have been of [his grandmother’s] generation, born 30 years too early to be one of this first generation of interest in this sad little century.

  • Dominating characteristic: Hope, to the extent of pigheadedness.

  • I always have the dread that I will wake up one day and not be able to write a word.

  • I am terribly homesick for Holland all the time. I just can’t get it out of my mind.

  • I had only wanted to be a writer from as early as I can remember.

  • I have a fearsome fit of temper which I don’t in any way ‘lose’ — if only I could — and let it explode.

  • I have always tried to safeguard myself and others against the insupportable agony of loneliness.

  • I have been taught by three women — my mother, my grandmother, my godmother — to love [life] to one’s utmost ability.

  • I would rather have been a composer or performer of music than a writer.

  • I’m not a literary writer but I’m not purely a commercial writer either.

  • I’m trisexual — I try everything at least twice in case I don’t like it the first time.

  • When I am surfing, I can forget even the long love-hate relationship I have always borne this native country of mine.


The above quoatations are from Glaskin's letters, interviews and articles.

How others saw him


  • Conscientious host who could not do enough for a guest.

  • Ever willing to go forth and slay a dragon for someone if required.

  • Prepared to jump in where angels feared to tread.

  • So much life crammed into one body. 

  • He was what made the sun shine and wine taste nice.

  • Didn’t try to please anyone; what you saw was what you got.

  • Had an acerbic, often confrontational manner, but was pretty vulnerable underneath.

  • Inclined to pursue grievances and conspiracies, real or imaginary, to the detriment of his ordinary enjoyment of life.

  • Rather intolerant towards his fellow Australians.

  • Would target individuals who had offered him real or imaginary slight.

  • A tall, well spoken, articulate and rather haughty man of patrician personality.

  • At his core, he was a bit of a prude.

  • Like an older brother, which he was — the managing elder brother.

  • Spoke with a good accent, not English, but cultured and a slight drawl.


The above comments were made to me, in writing or in person, by people who assisted me with my research.

To view a slideshow of images from Glaskin's life and work, click here: