Tuesday, May 9, 2023

RIP Mariana Villa-Gilbert

I was sorry to learn of the recent passing of author Mariana Villa-Gilbert. I wrote about her strange and sensuous novel My Love All Dressed in White (1964) in a post of 6 June, 2017. A commenter on this post has just reported the news of her passing. 

I had discovered the book by chance in a Cumbrian second-hand bookshop. Attracted by the title, I had glanced at the pages and noticed a rich, neo-decadent prose and a finely-shaded uncanny theme. I soon pursued her other six novels, from the period 1963-1986, and wondered why there had been no more.

Literary researcher Chris Adams, who writes as @queer_books on Instagram has posted a notice about her, commenting: 

'I am deeply saddened to report the death of Mariana Villa-Gilbert, aged 86. I first encountered Mariana when I cold-called her in the summer of 2020, asking if she was the author of several novels from the 1960s-70s. We struck up a wonderful correspondence: she did not have a computer and instead composed letters on her typewriter.'

Chris adds that the author has entrusted him with transcribing her memoirs: she had led an artistic, bohemian life with its fair share of drama and hardship as well as art and literature. I very much look forward to reading these, as I am sure will many other readers here.

(Mark Valentine)

1 comment:

  1. So sad to hear this. I just read your essay on her, Mark, in SPHINXES AND OBELISKS and it reminded me that I still had yet to track down a copy of MY LOVE ALL DRESSED IN WHITE. I live in Toronto, and our reference library has a non-circulating copy, so I may have to go that route eventually.