Gail Bell is an Australian author of short stories, two non-fiction books, travel writing, book reviews, critical essays and long form journalism. Her books and essays have won acclaim and prizes. She is represented by Selwa Anthony Author Management Pty Ltd.
Gail was born in Sydney. She was educated at Macarthur Girls’ High School, Parramatta, and is a graduate in pharmacy and education from the University of Sydney and Sydney College of Advanced Education.
From 1972-1983 she was married to Douwe Winkler, a Dutch immigrant. In 1986 she married Andrew Bell, a photographer and teacher, and moved to the Central Coast of NSW.
Bell began publishing short stories and journalism for specialty magazines in the 1990s.
Her first book, The Poison Principle became a bestseller and won the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award for non-fiction in 2002. The Poison Principle is part memoir, part mystery, part journey through the dark corridors of poison history. It took ten years, off and on, to complete, much of that time spent reading through libraries in Australia, America and England—anywhere there was an archive of good poison stories.
Her second book, SHOT: A Personal Response to Guns and Trauma was shortlisted for the Nita Kibble Literary Award.
Her third major publication, the Quarterly Essay # 18 The Worried Well led to strong public responses and national debate.
Bell’s journalism has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, in Australia and overseas. She has written for The New York Times and the UK Sunday Telegraph.
From 2005 to 2014 she was a regular contributor to The Monthly magazine.
Her essay In the Ratroom was collected in The Best Australian Essays 2011 and was shortlisted for the 2011 Voiceless Awards with a special mention from J M Coetzee.
She has received two Australia Council for the Arts grants for non-fiction books, and been the recipient of several residencies at Varuna, The Writers’ House, Katoomba, NSW.
From 2004-2006 Bell was a member of the committee of the Australian Society of Authors.
A new edition of The Poison Principle, with a foreword by Helen Garner, was published in March 2017.