Marie Williams, artist and author of the memoir Green Vanilla Tea, grew up in South Africa and lived in Canada before moving to Australia with her young family.
Marie worked as a Social Worker (MSW) for much of her career. In health settings, not-for-profit sectors, clinical education and private practice. While she drew on her professional background in the writing of Green Vanilla Tea, this is an intimate story. An offering of hope written for her teenage sons after her husband died in 2007. It went on to become an award-winning book.
Marie then stepped away from Social Work and swapped clipboards for paintbrushes. A long time dream. Ten years on, she learned to love again and remarried; a man she met through Green Vanilla Tea. Perhaps she will write about that one day. In the mean time, you’ll find her in paint-spattered overalls in her home-based art studio in Brisbane. She paints under her full name, Gela-Marie.
Gela-Marie will be licensing a series of illustrations in 2018 and continues to show her paintings in exhibitions. An artist with social work roots, she works closely with people, celebrating their stories in personalised artworks that are rich in meaning-making and visual story-telling.
Green Vanilla Tea, won the Finch Memoir Prize 2013. It was published in 2013 (ANZ) and 2014 (North America and Korea).
Photo: Dean Whitling