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Robert Dessaix

b. 1944

Robert Dessaix (b. 1944) is a Hobart–based writer, translator and literary critic. Born in Sydney, he developed an interest in the Russian language as a boy, and went on to study and teach Russian at the Australian National University, with stints on exchange in Moscow. In 1984 he joined the ABC; he produced Radio National’s Books and Writing program for ten years. Before he published his first work of fiction Dessaix translated volumes of Chekhov, Dostoevsky, and Russian and Estonian poetry into English, edited Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology (1993) and wrote the autobiographical A Mother’s Disgrace (1994). Since then, his novels Night Letters (1996) and Corfu (2001) have been widely translated, and he has become a star attraction at literary festivals and events throughout Australia. Subsequent books include Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev (2005) and Arabesques: A Tale of Double Lives (2008), the latter a series of ‘encounters’ between Dessaix and the French Protestant writer André Gide.

Updated 2018