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Open Right

Lee Kofman

Author, Personal Development, Social Issues

Dr Lee Kofman is a Russian-born, Israeli-Australian author of three fiction books and two memoirs, including Imperfect (Affirm Press, 2019), which was shortlisted for Nib Literary Award, and The Dangerous Bride (Melbourne University Press, 2014), co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (Ventura Press, 2016) and editor of Split (Ventura Press, 2019), which was longlisted for ABIA Awards – anthologies of memoir by prominent Australian authors. Her short works have been widely published in Australia, US, UK, Scotland, Israel and Canada; her blog was a finalist for Best Australian Blogs 2014. Lee’s most recent book is The Writer Laid Bare (Ventura Press) about writing.

Where were you born?

I was born in a shabby hospital with dirty floors and tipsy staff in the Soviet Siberia.

What other jobs have you had?

Up until seven years ago when I’ve become a full-time writer and teacher of writing, I’d had multiple careers and jobs. Some of my highlights were being a journalist, a nightclub party organiser, an academic and doing a short stint as a shoe factory worker.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Body, feminism, romantic and parental relationships, sexuality, migration, bookishness, Russia, Israel, anti-semitism, being an outsider, a search for identity and for fulfilment.

What have been the highlights of your career?

This is a difficult question to answer, because there have been many…But if I have to choose one, it will be the fact that early in my thirties I managed to change the language in which I write – from Hebrew to English. And since then, I went onto not only publishing two books in English, but also editing works by some of the most prominent Australian authors for the two anthologies I curated within the last three years.

Where have your works been published?

My first three books were published in Israel, and the following four books were published by Australian publishers Affirm Press, Ventura Press and Melbourne University Press. My short fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry have been published in Australia, US, UK, Scotland, Israel and Canada in such publications as Best Australian Stories, Best Australian Essays, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Harper’s Bazaar, Malahat Review and Brand.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about discussing writing, and issues around body image, appearance diversity, and any other difference, with people of all ages. I believe that the best way to make a social change is to start as early as possible and so I’m passionate about both reaching general public and also talking to teachers, students and parents about how to live best with our differences in the world increasingly enamoured with perfection (which actually often means sameness). I am also passionate about slow-cooking tagines and curries…

Haven’t I seen you before?

You might have. In the last six years I’ve been appearing regularly in various public events and festivals, and in the media. Most recently, for example, I discussed my memoir Imperfect on television – Studio Ten, and on Radio National’s Conversations with Sarah Kanowski.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Me? Umm, maybe? Do you watch Channel 10’s The Project? Do you read the Sunday Herald Sun? The Age newspaper Melbourne? No? Well you probably heard me on ABC Radio Melbourne doing my thing!!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I also blog about the writing process on my website, and often host there known authors working in a variety of genres (examples of past and forthcoming guests: Heather Morris, Andrew Hutchinson, Bram Presser, Alice Pung). My blog was a finalist at Best Australian Blogs 2014.

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