Gail Holst-Warhaft was born in Melbourne Australia. She completed a BA in English Literature and History of Art before leaving for Greece, where she worked as a musician and journalist during the 1970's. She played harpsichord in the orchestras of three of Greece's leading musicians: Mikis Theodorakis, Dionysis Savvopoulos and Mariza Koch.
Her first book, Road to Rembetika: Music of Greek Sub-culture was published in 1975 and has been translated in Greek, German, Turkish and French. Ms. Holst-Warhaft wrote the script for a prize-winning documentary film based on her book that was narrated by Anthony Quinn (Rembetika: The Blues of Greece ). Her second book, Theodorakis: Myth and Politics in Modern Greek Music, was published by Adolf Hakkert (Amsterdam) in 1980. In 1990, Holst-Warhaft received a PhD. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. Her dissertation was the basis of a third book: Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature, published by Routledge in 1992. Holst-Warhaft's most recent book is The Cue for Passion: Grief and its Political Uses, published by Harvard University Press (2000).
Gail Holst-Warhaft has published translations of many works of poetry and prose from modern and ancient Greek including her prize-winning translation of the collected poems of Nikos Kavadias, Achilles' Fiancee by Alki Zei, Mauthausen, by Iakovos Kambanellis, and The Suppliants, by Aeschylus (University of Pennsylvania Press). Holst-Warhaft began writing poetry seriously the 1980s, and has published her poems in journals and anthologies including The Gospels in Our Image, (Harcourt Brace), Seneca Review, Forward, Ithaca Women's Anthology, Antipodes and Bookpress.
She is an adjunct Associate Professor in the departments of Classics and Comparative Literature at Cornell University and works as a part-time academic, free-lance writer, and translator.
"Amanes: The Legacy of the Oriental Mother", in A &M (Musicology on Line), 2000.
"The Female Dervish and Other Shady Ladies of the Rebetika." In Gender and
Music in the Mediterranean, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming).
Entries on "Rebetika", "Sotiria Bellou", "Vassilis Tsitsanis" and "The Piraeus Quartet", in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (forthcoming).
"Bibliography of Modern Greek Music" and "Bibliography of Greek Dance". In Greece in Modern Times: An Annotated Bibliography of Works Published in English in 22 Disciplines from 1900-1995. Scarecrow Press, 2000.
"Rebetika Revisted", in Laografia (Newsletter of the International Greek Folklore Society).
"What the Grocer Said", in Aegean Review, vol. 9., 1988/89.
"Resisting Translation: Slang and Subversion in the Rebetika", in Journal of Modern Greek Studies, vol. 8, 1990.
"Markos Vamvakaris and the Hybrid" In Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora (forthcoming).