Quick, Barbara 1954-
Quick, Barbara 1954-
PERSONAL: Born May 25, 1954, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Harold Chair (a graphic designer) and Edith (a human services worker) Tritel; married John Quick (a photographer and filmmaker), August 1, 1988 (divorced); children: Julian. Education: University of California, Santa Cruz, A.B. (with honors), 1978. Politics: “Liberal, bleeding-heart variety.” Religion: “Jewish, although not practicing.” Hobbies and other interests: Tap dancing.
CAREER: University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies and office of the president, editorial assistant, 1981-82, assistant editor, 1982-83, editor, 1983-84, senior editor, 1984-85, senior writer, 1985-86, senior public information representative, 1986-87; freelance writer and editor, beginning 1987; served as senior writer and editor and wrote “The Gender Dialogues” column for online lifestyles magazine at MyPrimeTime.com. Worked variously as a caterer, seamstress, and gardener. Part-time acquisitions editor for small publishing firm; dancer and singer in community theater productions.
AWARDS, HONORS: Ira Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize, 1978; nomination for National Book Award, 1990, for Northern Edge; Quick was a featured author in B. Dalton’s “Discover: Great New Writers” program and Northern Edge was selected as one of B. Dalton’s “Best Books,” both 1990.
Northern Edge (novel), Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1990.
Still Friends: Living Happily Ever After… Even If Your Marriage Falls Apart, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.
Under Her Wing: The Mentors Who Changed Our Lives, New Harbinger Publications (Oakland, CA), 2000.
(With Liz McGrath) Even More, Raven Tree Press (Green Bay, WI), 2004.
(With Matthew McKay) The Commitment Dialogues: How to Talk Your Way through the Tough Times and Build a Stronger Relationship, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2005.
Vivaldi’s Virgins: A Novel, Harper Collins Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.
Also contributor of poetry, under the name Barbara Tritel, to numerous periodicals, including California Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Smith, and Impact. Contributor of reviews to San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times Book Review.
ADAPTATIONS: Northern Edge has been optioned for film by producer Elizabeth Stanley and screenwriter Lisanne Sartor.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer and editor Barbara Quick studied English and French at the University of California at Santa Cruz, then went on to work at a variety of jobs before finally settling down as an editor for the University of California, both at Berkeley and as a whole, working in administration. She has written variously for a number of periodicals, including the New York Times Book Review, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, Massachusetts Review, and California Quarterly. In addition, she has written several nonfiction books, both on her own and in collaboration, including Still Friends: Living Happily Ever After… Even If Your Marriage Falls Apart and The Commitment Dialogues: How to Talk Your Way through the Tough Times and Build a Stronger Relationship, the latter of which she cowrote with Matthew McKay. She has also published the novels Northern Edge and Vivaldi’s Virgins: A Novel.
A lover of all things travel-related, Quick kept journals during the two summers she spent in Alaska and used these as the basis for her first novel, Northern Edge. The main character of the story is Tay MacElroy, who, bored with her life as a secretary in California, impulsively moves to Alaska for a change of scenery. After an initial job offer falls through, she is offered a position on a research team that travels north of the Arctic Circle to study sea birds. The eight-week assignment provides Tay with adventure, newly discovered maturity, and a steadfast friendship with Phoebe, the only other female member of the team. This bond develops despite initial hostility between the two women. Some critics have suggested that the strength of Northern Edge lies in Quick’s portrayal of this relationship and her vivid depiction of the Alaskan wilderness.
Set in Venice, Vivaldi’s Virgins is an historical novel based on the time that the famous Italian composer Vivaldi spent working at the Ospedale della Pieta, an all-girls orphanage. He taught music and led the orphanage orchestra, and the girls developed a fine reputation as musicians. Quick’s novel focuses on Maria, ostensibly Vivaldi’s favorite of the orphans, who has a true gift for music, and who is intent on getting to know her long-lost mother. A reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer found the book to be “an unwieldy mix of romance novel and character study, the latter standing out vividly, like Technicolor footage in a black-and-white film. The result is a diverting and entertaining read that… could have been made into a thoroughly compelling one.” A contributor for Kirkus Reviews dubbed Quick’s effort “an intriguing glimpse at the decadence, debauchery and prudery of Baroque-era Venice.”
Quick told CA: “I am an enthusiastic traveler and have spent time in various locations, including a farming village in County Cork, Ireland; field camps in the Arctic region of Alaska; and a nineteenth-century villa in Budapest, Hungary. My husband and I lived on our thirty-foot sailboat for two years.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007, review of Vivaldi’s Virgins: A Novel.
New York Times Book Review, July 22, 1990, review of Northern Edge, p. 20.
Philadelphia Inquirer, September 26, 2007, review of Vivaldi’s Virgins.*