Jane Rule

On this date in 1931, lesbian writer Jane Rule was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. She graduated from Mills College, Oakland, California, in 1952 and became an occasional student at University College, London. Her first book, Desert of the Heart, a novel, was turned into the 1984 movie, “Desert Heart.” While teaching at Concord Academy in Massachusetts, she fell in love with Helen Sonthoff, a creative writing instructor who was married to Herbert Sonthoff, a German who had fled the Nazi regime.

Rule moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1956 and taught intermittently at the University of British Columbia until 1976. At age 40, Sonthoff came to Vancouver to visit Rule, then 25, and they resumed their intimate relationship. They lived as a couple until Sonthoff died in 2000.

She was good friends with writers Kate Millett and Margaret Atwood. Among her many books, which include novels and nonfiction, are After the Fire (1988), Memory Board (1987), Hot-Eyed Moderate (1985), Contract with the World (1982) and Lesbian Images (1982). Among her awards were being named author of the Best Story of the Year 1978 by the Canadian Authors Association. She died of liver cancer in 2007.

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