Dobson, Jill 1969-
DOBSON, Jill 1969-
PERSONAL: Born 1969, in Yorkshire, England. Education: Melbourne University, B.A. (history, with honors), 1994, B.Litt. (Japanese), 1995; Australian National University, M.A. (international relations), 1996; study at a provincial Japanese university.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Queensland Press, P.O. Box 42, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, 4067; Sam Boyce, Sheiland Associates Ltd., 43 Daughty St., London WC1N 2LF, England.
CAREER: Author and editor. Worked variously as a vegetarian caterer, kibbutz farmer, volunteer archaeologist, English teacher in Japan and Russia, copyeditor for The Moscow Times, and Australian Department of Defence employee.
MEMBER: Australian Society of Authors, United Kingdom Society of Authors.
young adult fiction
The Inheritors, University of Queensland Press (St. Lucia, Australia), 1988.
Time to Go, University of Queensland Press (St. Lucia, Australia), 1991.
A Journey to Distant Mountains, University of Queensland Press (St. Lucia, Australia), 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Two more novels to complete the trilogy begun by A Journey to Distant Mountains; an adult novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Despite her life of travel and adventure, Jill Dobson has had one constant—her writing. She was born in Yorkshire, England, and moved to Australia at age five. While growing up in Albury, she was restless and expressed herself in writing, as she recalled to CA: "I started writing very young, not long after I started to read. I can't remember ever making a decision to 'be a writer'; it was simply what I did." Inspired by George Orwell's cautionary novel 1984, Dobson wrote The Inheritors when she was sixteen years old. "At that time," the author recalled, "The University of Queensland Press was starting up its young adult fiction list and were trawling for new Australian writers." Dobson's The Inheritors rolled off the university's presses in 1988.
While studying history at the University of Melbourne, Dobson wrote her second novel, Time to Go. "It is my most autobiographical novel so far," she told CA, "based on my experience of being an ambitious, idealistic teenager desperate to leave country town life behind." To satisfy her wanderlust, Dobson went to Japan, where she taught English before studying at a provincial Japanese university. Upon returning to Australia, she earned a second bachelor's degree, this time in Japanese literature, and then a year later, achieved a masters degree in international relations. Dobson worked several years for the Australian Department of Defence, but she discovered that public service was not a good fit for her. Her need to write nagged at her.
Although Dobson had written the first draft of A Journey to Distant Mountains while in her early teens, she had "put it aside to concentrate on something more 'serious' than fantasy," she told CA. "The idea never left me alone, however, and I knew I'd eventually come back to it." Come back to it she did, and in 2001 A Journey to Distant Mountains appeared. In this first novel of a proposed trilogy, young Princess Atlanta of Eddala escapes an arranged marriage by running away to the Distant Mountains with a motley crew of strangers. For her part, Dobson commented, "Not surprisingly, travel and the redefinition of the self in foreign landscapes is a major theme in my work. A reviewer described Journey as 'a novel of destiny and embracing one's true nature,' which describes exactly what I was aiming for."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
School Library Journal, October, 2002, Alison Ching, review of A Journey to Distant Mountains, p. 161.