Tasmanian novelist Marie Bjelke Petersen sold a remarkable 250,000 books in the early 1900s.
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Marie’s best seller was about Sylvia Mills who she lived with for 30 years. Sylvia was Marie’s angel.
“God’s Angels often come not as strangers whose lips never touch ours… but as close dear friends, whom we may fondle & caress.”
The book Jewelled Nights featuring a cross-dressing female heroine became one of Australia’s most popular early films.
Marie was also the aunt of authoritarian Queensland premier Joh Bjelke Petersen – of course … you don’t get to choose your rellies.
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Marie’s novel Jewelled Nights told of a young woman who ditches a bloke she doesn’t love at the altar.
“Do you take this man to…”
She cuts her hair and heads into the Tasmanian wilderness disguised as a young man. Marie wrote the book in 1923, and she was a commercially successful author. So, of course, our cross-dressed heroine eventually meets a handsome man who springs she’s really a sheila, saves her from a villain, marries her… and they all live happily ever after. 💖🤪
However, the book does broach subjects usually avoided at the time — homosexuality and rape.
More Australian lesbian writers:
I. A. R. Wylie: the novelist, short story writer and screenwriter achieved worldwide renown, though in most readers’ minds, as a male author.
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