Skinner, Mollie (1876–1955)

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Skinner, Mollie (1876–1955)

Australian novelist. Name variations: (pseudonym) R.E. Leake. Born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1876; died in 1955; educated in England.

Selected writings:

Letters of a V.A.D. (1918); The Boy in the Bush (1924); Black Swans (1925); Men Are We (1927); Tucker Sees India (1937); WX—Corporal Smith: A Romance of the A.I.F. in Libya (1941); Where Skies Are Blue (1946); The Fifth Sparrow (autobiography, 1972).

Although she was educated in England, novelist Mollie Skinner was born in 1876 in Western Australia, and spent most of her life there. Her first careers were in nursing and journalism; a Quaker, she also spent some time working among the poor in London. Working in India during World War I provided background material for her first novel, Letters of a V.A.D., published in 1918 under the pseudonym R.E. Leake. In 1922, Skinner met English novelist D.H. Lawrence, with whom she collaborated on her most famous book, The Boy in the Bush (1924). Sixty years later, this chronicle of rural immigrant life in 1880s Australia was made into an Australian television series. Skinner's later works include Black Swans (1925), a 19th-century romance; a collection of stories focusing on Aborigines, Men Are We (1927); Tucker Sees India (1937); WX—Corporal Smith: A Romance of the A.I.F. in Libya (1941); and Where Skies Are Blue (1946). Her autobiography, The Fifth Sparrow, was published in 1972, 17 years after her death.


Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Wilde, William H., Joy Hooten, and Barry Andrews. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Kimberly A. Burton , B.A., M.I.S., Ann Arbor, Michigan

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