Linda Jaivin

In 2014, Fourth Estate HarperCollins published Linda Jaivin’s seventh novel, The Empress Lover, to critical acclaim. Also in 2014, Reaktion Press published her non-fiction Cityscopes guide to Beijing, titled Beijing. Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing called Beijing ‘the perfect traveling companion for visitors old and new. At last, a book to carry on all of your wandering through this incomparable city.’

Linda Jaivin’s first novel, the comic-erotic Eat Me, was a bestseller in Australia for seven months and was published in a dozen countries; as Mange Moi, it became a bestseller in France as well. Kirkus Reviews wrote of Eat Me that ‘This tossed salad of erotic scenarios charms as few examples of its genre ever have.’ Glamour (USA) said it was ‘the sexiest thing to come out of Australia since Mel Gibson.’ (That was, Linda notes, back when Mel Gibson was considered the sexiest thing to come out of Australia.) Even the TLS reviewer confessed: ‘Some of the scenes described actually turned me on.’

Her second novel was Rock n Roll Babes from Outer Space, described by the Washington Post as ‘witty and wickedly satiric… Few writers have skewered the rock and roll world so savagely and accurately and with so much delight’. The Melbourne Age called Linda Jaivin’s third novel, Miles Walker, You’re Dead ‘rapier sharp’ and the Bulletin said it was ‘a treat not to be missed.’ After that came the novella Dead Sexy, and then in 2006, the novel The Infernal Optimist, a dark comedy set in an immigration detention centre which the Sydney Morning Herald labelled ‘an Australian Catch-22’ and which was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 2007.

Her sixth novel, A Most Immoral Woman, is set in China and Japan in 1904 and based on the true story of an affair between the great Australian journalist George ‘Chinese’ Morrison and a free-loving American heiress called Mae Perkins. It was published by Fourth Estate (HarperCollins Australia) in March 2009; publisher Linda Funnell has written that ‘This is the book Linda Jaivin was born to write – sexy, witty and surprising, encompassing her passion for China and her talent for the erotic.’

Linda Jaivin’s short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Alien Shores (2012), The Penguin Book of the Road (2008) and In Bed With, a collection of erotic tales by authors including Fay Weldon and Maggie Alderson, and also published by Penguin in 2008. Her plays, which have been produced in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Wollongong and Adelaide, include Seeking Djira and Halal el Mashakel, which was published in the 2013 anthology Staging Asylum: Contemporary Australian Plays About Refugees by Currency Press.

She has also published four works of non-fiction including Beijing, the 2013 Quarterly Essay Found in Translation: In Praise of a Plural World, the collection of essays Confessions of an S&M Virgin and the China memoir/biography The Monkey and the Dragon. Her essays on China and other subjects have appeared in both international and Australian publications including The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Rolling Stone (Australia) and The Monthly (Australia) and her essays have been chosen a number of times for inclusion in the annual Best Australian Essays.

In 1992, Jaivin co-edited the acclaimed anthology of translations from the Chinese, New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices with Geremie Barmé. She has translated chapters of Sang Ye’s China Candid and done the subtitles for such landmark Chinese films as Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s Blue Kite, Zhang Yimou’s Hero and Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster.

Linda is a visiting fellow in the Pacific and Asian History Division, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University and lives in Sydney. Her new novel, The Empress Lover is published by Fourth Estate/HarperCollins Australia.

‘Jaivin’s writing shines and burns.’ (Sunday Age)

‘one of Australia’s best and most versatile writers’ (Sydney Morning Herald)

Visit Linda Jaivin’s website »