Dr Lee Kofman is a Russian-born Israeli-Australian author of six books and editor of two anthologies, writing teacher and mentor based in Melbourne. Her writing and reading life began a long time ago in a remote Siberian village where she recited her first poem to an admiring crowd of illiterate babushkas. What followed was decades of wrestling with the art and craft of writing and passionate reading.
In the past she had sampled many different occupations, including party organising and university teaching. Now she is a full time writer and writing teacher. Some of her favourite writers are Mikhail Bulgakov, Hanif Kureishi, Helen Garner, Elif Batuman, Robert Dessaix, Katie Roiphe and Geoff Dyer.
Lee’s first three books, the novels Scars (1994, Tamuz) and I will love Christina (2003, Hed Arzi – Ma’ariv Guild), and a short story collection Single Woman, 32 (1999, Hed Arzi – Ma’ariv Guild) were published in Israel, in Hebrew. Since 2003, Lee has been writing exclusively in English.
Lee’s books in English include a writing and reading guide The Writer Laid Bare: Mastering emotional honesty in a writer’s art, craft & life (Ventura Press, 2022) and two memoirs: Imperfect (Affirm Press, 2019), which was shortlisted for Nib Literary Award, and The Dangerous Bride (Melbourne University Press, 2014). She has also edited two anthologies of personal essays, Rebellious Daughters (Ventura Press, 2016) and Split (Ventura Press, 2019), which was longlisted for ABIA awards, that feature prominent Australian writers.
Lee’s numerous short stories, short creative non-fiction and poetry have been published widely in Australia, Scotland, UK, Israel, USA and Canada in such publications as Best Australian Stories, Best Australian Essays, Harper’s Bazaar, Griffith Review, Mamamia, Meanjin, Creative Nonfiction, Malahat Review and Brand. Lee also contributed to several anthologies, including Mothermorphosis (2015, Melbourne University Press, ed. Monica Dux), and Families: Modern Australian Short Stories (2008, Five Mile Press, ed. Barry Oakley).
Since 2003, Lee has performed as a feature poet in many poetry events in Melbourne, including La Mama Poetica, Federation Square Poetry and Liner Notes. She also collaborated with musician Adi Sappir on creating and performing a show celebrating the work of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Five of her poems were selected for a performance by professional actors at Lord Ivy Gallery in 2009.
Lee has been involved in many literary awards and writing competitions as a judge or assessor, including Varuna Fellowships, the Deborah Cass Award, Copyright Agency Award Mentorship Program (ASA) and the Nib Literary Award.
Lee participates in Australian literary community in many other ways. She launched numerous books, was the blogger-in-residence for the Writers Victoria for three years and her blog about writing, featured on this website, was a finalist for Best Australian Blogs 2014.
Lee regularly speaks about her writing all around Australia. She has participated in many literary events and festivals as a panelist, panel moderator, feature speaker and lecturer. Lee also curated various writing events, including her series of Creative Nonfiction events that took place in the Wheeler Centre, Word For Word festival and various libraries. Lee loves interviewing writers, and has been doing many in-conversation with well-known Australian and international authors, such as Sofie Laguna, Bruce Pascoe, Heather Morris, Ceridwen Dovey and Sara Winman.