Born in London, England; immigrated to Australia, 1992; married Nick Gaze (a jewelry designer). Education: Bristol University, B.A.; University of Technology, Sydney, M.A. (writing).
Home—Tasmania, Australia. Agent—Bruce Hunter, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1F9HA, England.
Journalist for various newspapers; CTN, feature editor.
Best First Book in 2001, Commonwealth Writers Prize, for South East and South Pacific region, 2001, for The Company: The Story of a Murderer.
The Company: The Story of a Murderer, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of short stories to literary magazines.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The God of Spring, a novel based on the life of the French painter Gericault.
Arabella Edge was born in London, England. Her French mother desired her to speak French fluently, so she was sent to the Lycée in South Kensington, where she was required to speak French all day. This emersion in the language only made her appreciate her own native language more and she became engrossed in English literature. This appreciation led to her course study at Bristol University. She visited Australia in 1991, and moved there in 1994. She received her M.A. in writing from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. She lives in Tasmania with her husband Nick Gaze, a jewelry designer.
It was while vacationing along the Great Ocean Road near the Twelve Apostles in Australia that Edge first started thinking about her book The Company: The Story of a Murderer, which was published in 2001. Her husband told her the story of the Batavia, a ship on a trading mission for the Dutch East India Company that struck a reef about thirty kilometers off the coast of western Australia in 1629. Survivors made it to the Abrolhos Islands, where a man named Cornelisz took over and systematically terrorized the remaining survivors. Not much information exists about what exactly happened on the island, and upon hearing the story Edge began to imagine the character of Cornelisz and fill in the details of his reign of terror. What came of this is a thrilling and sometimes horrific novel, told in the present tense through Cornelisz's eyes. Robert Cremins of the Houston Chronicle found that the use of the present tense "tends to bog down the narrative in mundane and repetitive details that a more retrospective telling can gloss over." However, Robert Drewe said in Australian Book Review, "Edge has managed the first-person male voice with great finesse" and continued, "Edge walks the necessary fine line between period accuracy and the modern reader's impatience with archaism. Her writing is lively and evocative." Wendy Bethel of Library Journal wrote, "Although many Americans will not be familiar with the history behind the story, those who can stomach the violence will be drawn in." The reviewer for Publishers Weekly called it, "A mixture of classic sea-adventure yarn and grisly thriller." Bella Stander fromPeople found it "savagely imagined and lyrically told." Janda Gooding from the Journal of Australian Studies observed "that it still remains relatively true to the known details of the event is to the credit of the author."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Houston Chronicle, September 10, 2001, Robert Cremins, "Devilish Debut."
Journal of Australian Studies, September, 2001, Janda Gooding, review of The Company: The Story of a Murderer, p. 176.
Library Journal, June 15, 2001, Wendy Bethel, review of The Company, p. 102.
People, August 20, 2001, Bella Stander, review of The Company, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2001, review of The Company, p. 46.
Age,http://www.theage.com.au/ (August 14, 2000), Jason Steger, "Edge of Darkness."
Australian Book Review,http://home.vicnet.net.au/ (November 27, 2001), Robert Drewe, "Macabre and Deranged."
David Higham Associates,http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/ (September 9, 2003), short biography of Arabella Edge.*