SARAH GAITANOS is the author of The Violinist: Clare Galambos Winter, Holocaust Survivor, Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life, and with Alan Bollard, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, of the bestseller - Crisis: One central bank governor and the global financial collapse. Sarah is an independent writer, researcher and oral historian.
Daughter of a 5th generation New Zealander and an English immigrant, Sarah grew up in rural Wairarapa. On completing a degree in history and English at Canterbury University, she headed overseas, living in the UK and Greece, before returning with her husband to New Zealand, eventually to Lower Hutt. While raising a family in the 1980s and '90s she worked as a teacher, a freelance photo journalist and an oral historian, and she published three children's readers, Hair, The Monarch Butterfly and The River (Lands End Publishing Ltd, Foundations series, 1996).
The subject of her next biography is the great New Zealand champion of justice and human rights, Shirley Smith, 1916-2007.
Praise for The Violinist: Clare Galambos Winter, Holocaust Survivor:
Without tiptoeing around the specifics, Gaitanos leads the reader through the terrors and depredations visited by the Nazis upon Galambos Winter, her family and friends, her Jewish teachers, fellow musicians, academics and community leaders. What remains with the reader after the last chapter, however, is not an overflow of grim and ghastly images burnt on the mind's eye, but the joyous smile of a woman - representative, fortunately, of many brave others - who triumphed over evil. Rosa Shiels Your Weekend, DOMINION POST
The compelling story of an eventful life. Julia Millen THE LISTENER
Sarah Gaitanos has verified the cloud of memory with her stellar research, placing Winter's oral recollections in the context of recorded history. ... this is a powerful, galloping read. Cheryl Pearl Sucher SUNDAY STAR TIMES
... a very honest book, it's incredibly moving, very simply told ... a woman of great courage and compassion and strength. It's a really interesting example of how different people, depending on their personalities and circumstances, survived trauma ... It's a good story, as well as being a wonderful story. Kate de Goldi Good Morning TV ONE
Sarah and Clare were acknowledged by the Human Rights Commission in February 2011 for Positive Contributions to Race Relations.
Now we have a brilliant biography by Sarah Gaitanos, who has put together in a highly readable way a mass of material, including meticulous appendices of all productions and teaching courses in which the "Mother of New Zealand Theatre" was involved. Gaitanos has done a wonderful job on Millar, a woman everyone regarded as an "enigma" who kept her private life to herself. Roger Hall THE LISTENER
... an intriguing view of Wellington artistic and intellectual life from the 1930s to 1970s and a candid yet affectionate examination of a unique soul. Colin McColl DOMINION POST
Gaitanos has dug deep and rewardingly and by so doing not only done Nola Millar proud. Her meticulous account of the theatrical life and times of Wellington, particularly from the 1930s through to the early 70s, viewed through the prism of Millar's emergence as persistent, unflagging theatre director and teacher, is social history at its best. Michael Nicolaidi NEW ZEALAND BOOKS
...[Nola Millar was] one of the most influential characters of our creative history. Sarah Gaitanos has delivered an immensely readable biography of a unique woman. Margaret Christensen WAIRARAPA TIMES AGE
To say that Gaitanos's research for this biography was thorough would be an understatement. The historical scholarship is superb - with in-depth notes and detailed indexing. It not only traces the development of New Zealand theatre through the life of Nola Millar, it also demonstrates the importance of theatre in New Zealand prior to the arrival of television. The close links between librarians and the theatrical community is an interesting component of this book which deserves to be on the shelves of libraries throughout the country. Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life is an excellent in-depth social history on the development of New Zealand theatre - a history that includes many scenes of library life in mid-20th Century New Zealand. Dan Dorner LIANZA
... Sarah Gaitanos's excellent biography ... thoroughly researched and extremely well written, paints a vivid picture of a woman who has long been overdue such recognition. Lisa Warrington AUSTRALASIAN DRAMA STUDIES
Nola was a pioneer New Zealand theatre director and this book is endlessly inspiring creatively, as well as celebrating Wellington's rich theatrical history. David O'Donnell SALIENT
I admire the rigour of her research in painstakingly scouring a broad range of sources to build a picture of this woman who worked tirelessly for theatre but didn't advertise the fact. And she is successful in this. Rather than letting the wall Millar built around herself prevent us from understanding her, Gaitanos creates a great deal of empathy for the quirky-looking woman with a love of the horses. She demonstrates the human frailty of a loner, whose closest friends didn't really know her, by the narration of simple events ... Gaitanos's writing clearly elucidates this wonderful character ... Bronwyn Tweddle ILLUSIONS