Nurturing the competitive streak

Profile: Professor Alison Booth

What do novels and economics papers have in common? Erin Schrieber reports.

According to Alison Booth, Professor of Economics at The Australian National University and bestselling fiction author, a strong story or narrative is essential to both.

“Having the ability to create a narrative is very important in academic work,” she says. “The best economic theory does have that narrative that makes it accessible and appealing.”

Her fourth novel, A Perfect Marriage, has just been published. It’s a story of a woman who may or may not have killed her increasingly violent husband.

Booth says the inspiration for this story revolves around the fact that domestic violence is not only a working class phenomenon, but is something that also occurs in the middle class, where it can often be more difficult to see.Coming to fiction writing from an academic background, she says that tackling difficult subjects such as domestic violence in the current novel and themes like espionage, the stolen generations and child abuse in the earlier novels, has at times been very difficult and draining for her.