Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home


Born in Essex to a Welsh mother and an English father, I’ve spent all but nine years of my life living in Australia. Yet, for some reason, I’ve never been sure quite where I belong. This isn’t surprising. I’ve always been indecisive. Nevertheless, it does strike me as ungrateful. I should be able to put my hand to my heart and say:

I’m Australian.

I can’t – and, as I’ve worked hard to eliminate ‘shoulds’ from my cognitions, this has lead to tedious explanations.

In the end, I’ve settled for hanner Cymraes.

That’s right – half Welsh woman.

I’ve always been a daydreamer and, ever since I got lost on a lonely moor with the Famous Five, I’ve dreamed of writing a novel. Dreams are scary, however, and a lot less tangible than love and marriage. I studied history as an undergraduate, got married in my teens, fell pregnant within a heart beat of the ceremony (note the order) and spent the next ten years wiping noses and bottoms. Once my youngest child started school, I trained as a librarian.

But the dream never faded.

It rolled down the years gathering momentum until, one day, I decided scary was a far worse prospect than not knowing.

It was time to give this writing thing a go.

Write what you know! That’s the first thing they tell beginner writers. What? You’ve got to be joking? Noses and bottoms! As a history graduate and reader of historical fiction, I knew my stories would rise from the pages of history. I was right. The past is my true country. Whenever I sit down to write, I let the words carry me home.

In the present, I live with my husband Andrew (minus our four adult children) in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne’s multicultural inner north. I like red shoes, coffee, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character-driven novels set once-upon-a-time, in lands far away. These days, despite my early identity issues, I have no hesitation in calling myself a Melbourne girl.


  1. Terry Tyler

    Aha! Now I understand. I love reading historical fiction, too.

  2. Yes, it’s the best. What are your favourite authors?

  3. Terry Tyler

    Norah Lofts and Philippa Gregory, and I loved Susan Howatch’s Cashelmara, Penmarric, etc, though not her later books about the church. Currently reading Edward Rutherford’s ‘London’, which is a-maz-ing! You?

    • I loved London. I have Rutherfurd’s Paris in my TBR pile. He has one about the New Forest I’d love to read too. I love anything Welsh – Sharan K Penman, Edith Pargetter/Ellis Peters, Richard Llewellyn’s, How Green was my Valley. I also love Dorothy Dunnett, Diana Gabaldon, Kate Mosse and Kate Morton. I don’t mind literary historical fiction writers either, like Kate Grenville, Emma Donoghue, Hilary Mantel and Helen Dunmore either. I just read Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, bleak but totally amazing. Too many books. Not enough hours. 🙂

  4. Terry Tyler

    I am so with you on that one! Thanks for those recommendations, too x

  5. james jeffery

    I just read your short story “Beyond the Blackout Curtain” I just wanted to tell you I loved it. i do not know if this is bullshit or not, but there is a theory about the music of the language of the Celts. I can hear it in your writing.

    • ejcorbett@yahoo.com.au

      Thanks for reading my story, for liking it and for taking the time to tell me so. It makes all the hours of writing and re-writing worthwhile. I’m not sure about specific theories of Celtic musicality but I agree with you. It is there, for certain. I’m glad you think my writing has got it too. 🙂

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