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20 August 2007

Whatever Happened to .... Liz Hodgkinson

Liz Hodgkinson (1945 - ) was raised in Cambridgeshire, and read English at Durham University. After a very short stint teaching, she became a freelance reporter/columnist first in North-East England, and then in Fleet Street.

She is divorced from science writer Neville Hodgkinson, with whom she had two sons who have also become writers.

In the late 1980s, possibly as part of a personal crisis, she published a controversial book on celibacy as a solution to personal problems, and followed it with Bodyshock, which is probably still the best journalism book on transsexuality.

In researching that book she discovered the personal papers including an unpublished autobiography by the world’s first female-to-male transsexual, Michael Dillon. In addition to including him in Bodyshock, she wrote a full-length biography of him. Her collection and biography of course are a major source of Pagan Kennedy’s more recent biography of Michael Dillon, which gives her only the most cursory credit. Her biography is the partial basis of a play by Phil Kingston, Dr Dillon and Georgia, that was presented in Dublin in 2006, and the film rights to the biography have recently been sold.

Liz has written over 54 books. She previously specialized in books about health. Her 1995 book on snoring was controversial in that it closely resembled a very similar book by Derek Lipman.

In recent years has concentrated on books about property.

Strangely her website does not even mention Bodyshock.

  • Liz Hodgkinson. Sex is Not Compulsory. Columbus Books 1986.
  • Liz Hodgkinson. Bodyshock: The Truth About Changing Sex. Columbus Books 1987.
  • Liz Hodgkinson. Michael née Laura. Columbus Books. 1989
  • Liz Hodgkinson. Two Girls on the Street. Unpublished autobiography.

I feel some affection for Bodyshock in that it was the book that I choose to give to my parents to read to give them some idea about my own transition. I might well choose the same book today.

I feel that Pagan Kennedy's The First Man-Made Man is something of a rip-off as Michael nee Laura exists, albeit out-of-print. Why did not Hodgkinson and her publisher re-issue it to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the Kennedy book.

And why is Hodgkinson mute on the existence of Bodyshock on her website. She should be proud of the book.

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