Leave a comment

I do get to answer all comments eventually! Please don’t be offended if it takes a few days. And I love to hear from readers.

Some people leave me messages which are fairly private or personal. They come through my inbox before being moderated. So if anyone would rather their message doesn’t appear on this page, please mention it and I will reply offline, probably via my publicist at Text (who won’t read either of the letters, only forward them).

Note, 2012: at the moment I’m getting violent amounts of spam in this field, so I’m only attacking my inbox in batches when I have the nerve. Many apologies if your comment languishes for a little bit; I definitely will find it eventually!

176 Responses to Leave a comment

  1. Cliff says:


    I was outraged a few weeks ago when your column did not appear in The Saturday Age. This was replaced by grief to find that last week’s column was to be your last.

    Your column was the first thing I read every second Saturday. (By way of contrast, the delightful musings of Robert Drewe every other Saturday could wait until I got to that page.) Your beautiful and tender writing will be missed terribly.

    • kate says:

      Hi Cliff
      I appreciate the outrage – how gallant! Thank you, and for taking the time to send a message, that’s so kind. I never realised I was so popular! It’s so very lovely to get messages and to know that my sense, when I was writing my columns for so long, that there were actual people out there actually reading them, was correct. I was so lucky and it was all worth it for the gorgeous readers I’ve met. Thank you – I’m sure Germaine Greer will have things to say, and I am going to try and concentrate on some bigger pieces now. But happy reading to you Cliff – and thank you so much. Very appreciated!


  2. Bron says:

    Hi Kate,
    I was reminded by a letter to the Age this morning of how much I’ll miss your column in the Age on Saturdays, it was one I looked forward to reading, even more so when I finally read your first book. You seem a natural writer, as if the words come easily and fluidly, a style which it is a pleasure to read. Your words will be missed in the Age, and I hope to see you popping up somewhere else soon.
    In appreciation,

    • kate says:

      Hi Bron,

      Wow, well first of all thanks for alerting me to that letter in the paper, that was nice to see! And for your own kind and thoughtful words. How lovely to take the time to send me a message! I did love writing my columns (well, most of the time…) and know how lucky I was to write for such a gorgeous readership. At times I felt everyone was some unknown friend. I’ll keep on writing, and am looking forward to some new projects. But thank you! And happy reading for the future to you too.


  3. Claire Rowan says:

    Hi Kate,
    I am saddened to learn that your fortnightly column in ‘The Age’ ended yesterday. I promptly had to make a fresh pot tea after reading about it yesterday to calm my unsettled demeanour! I can vividly recall the joy of discovering your column back in 2006. Since then, I have been an avid reader of your musings about life either here or overseas. The six and half years sped by. Your columns will always have a special place for me. It helped me with my recovery from a serious illness back in early 2006, which affected my reading and writing ability. You will be missed.
    warm regards

    • kate says:

      Hi Claire

      How kind and nice of you to notice and send me a message! It’s really so incredibly lovely to hear from people who’ve been quietly reading my pieces all this time: very humbling, and also encouraging. Ah, vanity! But how lucky I am that I got to write for such a generous audience. I hope the pot of tea went down well. And how glad I am to hear you are recovered from your illness – difficulty in reading must be a terrible trial. Thank you so very much for the lovely words, they’re very appreciated. Happy reading in the future to you!


  4. Jeff says:

    Hi Kate
    Just read what I see is your last column for The Age and I wanted to say that I will miss your unique perspective on the things of life. I wonder as I write if these Sunday gems are available to re-read ?
    Unfortunately and for no good reason I can think of, I have stopped cutting out random bits of worthwhile journalism, could have been the difficulty in finding any.
    In any event I wish you well and again thank you.

    • kate says:

      Hi Jeff

      You’re so nice to write and send me kind words. I’m flattered that you’d like to re-read any of my pieces! I’ve put up links to many of the more recent ones here on my website, under ‘A2 Columns’ in ‘Other Writing’ I think, if you’d like to have a look. I’m sad to be stopping as I really enjoyed writing them and appreciated my luck, but it’s probably time for someone else to have a go. I hope you like Germaine Greer. Good luck with finding other stuff to read, too! There’s some excellent stuff out there but it takes looking. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.


  5. Just read your column in the weekend Age and you noticed you won’t be writing for them anymore. How come you’re leaving?…What a pity, I really enjoyed reading your musings. Hopefully, you are off to greener pastures and if so happy landings 🙂

    • kate says:

      Dear Barry

      Thank you so much, what kindness to send me a message and such nice words. It’s so flattering to be missed! Glad you liked my little thoughts, and I’ll try to get some big writing done now. Enjoy Life&Style and Germaine’s pieces!


  6. G says:

    On opening today’s The Age I discovered that you are finishing your fortnightly column today. Well I suppose all things end sooner or later. But I felt that starts and endings are good times to celebrate, and so I just wanted to let you know that I loved both your books and I read almost all of your columns over the last 6 years. At some point in that 6 years there came a time where I felt like I knew you, without ever having met you–an uncanny and assymetrical relationship that all widely-read authors probably share with their ardent readers. My best wishes for you and whatever it is you are working on and will be working on in the future.

    • kate says:

      Hi George,

      Wow thank you for the nice words. It’s lovely to be missed! I had a ball writing my column for such a long time, and you know, I really began to feel I knew my readers too, as if I were writing for a big group of friends I just never met. Thank you for letting my words into your life. I don’t know quite what I’ll do with all my little thoughts now but surely they will find a home on some page on my computer. But how lucky I am to have had such nice readers. Thank you George.


  7. Helen says:

    Dear Kate…….I’m afraid I have only read your column in Life&Style and I enjoy reading your slant on so many different topics. Today I was sad to read your last column but it was quite beautiful with your “pictures”of life bursting from ruins and how we can find the beauty and joy in the darkest of places. I’m well in my 70’s but its never too late to have another door opened to reveal these uplifting “pictures”. All the best in whatever you do .

    • kate says:

      Hi Helen,

      Thank you, how sweet you are. It’s so very lovely to have my little columns noticed and read, and missed, too! I had to write the last one in a hurry and it wasn’t quite what I would have liked, but I had been saving those fragments of hopefulness up and wanted to end on a good note. Thank you for reading me, and you are so right, you never know what is to come. Happy reading, Helen.



  8. Claire says:

    Hi Kate,

    I read In My Skin from start to finish just now. Reading your book made me realise how sure I am that I never will try heroine (and steer clear from any drug for that matter).

    I could relate with your journey of addiction, need, and isolation as it took a very similar form to my last 6 years with an eating disorder. You moved me to tears because it all felt so familiar; the lost types of people you empathised with best along the way, the comforting yet ultimately deceiving romantic thinking, and especially in the way that your recovery was a matter of a whole lifestyle change, inch by inch.

    I’ve always held a great respect for the sex industry- it’s an honourable service and workers deserve more rights and protection. Recently a friend expressed a shocking ignorance and disgust for sex workers, so I plan to give her your book knowing it’ll provide a wonderful sense of the humanity and respect deserved.

    Wishing you all the best.

    • kate says:

      Dear Claire,

      Thank you so much for the message, and taking the time to get in touch. It’s always humbling to hear from a reader, and how much I appreciate it! And it’s very kind of you.

      I’m glad you read my book and found something in it – I say that realising that of course I don’t mean I’m glad that you were moved to tears, or found it sad! I know that finding correspondence between your own life and that of someone else’s in a book can be a really powerful feeling. Sometimes very consoling, to see things you know, reflected in another part of the world.

      I did – do – feel a lot for, as you put it, the lost types of people – they really broke my heart, and no doubt because I had become one of them too. I’d like to meet and write more about people like that, who get forgotten. Sex workers are often out and proud now – there is a whole festival of sex work coming up here in Melbourne! – but still, writing secret and ‘shameful’ things – without shame – can be delicate. I hope your friend might change her mind!

      Eating disorders aren’t something I know much about but I never cease to be moved by the ways we can find to hurt ourselves, and how beautiful it is when someone stops doing that.

      Thanks again Claire, you’ve lovely to share your thoughts with me.


  9. Simon Bronson says:


    I really miss your column in the back of Saturday’s age! Hope to see you appear in paper form to light up my weekends soon.


    • kate says:

      Hi Simon

      Oh thank you for the kind words! It’s nice of you to notice. Hopefully I’ll get to write some features and reviews for the Saturday Age instead. It’s lovely to be missed, though.



  10. Robert Cope says:

    Maybe trivial, but Melbourne Library Services sent ‘press release’ about a panel, Sexuality and Writing, in May…and it would not open to give the date/place. If you can…thanks.

    rob cope (as you, also of PEN Melbourne)

    • kate says:

      Hi again Rob,

      Woops, sorry I didn’t answer this earlier! I’m doing a panel this next Thursday at the City Library, with Bella Elwood-Clayton, Barry Dickens and Valerie Kirwan, about sexuality and writing. It’s at 6.30-8pm on the Majorca Room if you’d like to come!

      One day I’ll get back to coming to PEN meetings…


  11. Bec says:

    Hi Kate,

    I have never written a true diary entry. I have churned out 3000 word academic essays in one night (Arts degree). I have painstakingly drafted letters of advice (Law degree). I have made assertions on topics I know nothing about (Grad Diploma of Education). I have scribbled, annotated, edited and drawn smiley faces next to harsh comments on student’s work to soften the blow (Teacher). But I have never written a diary entry.

    There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I know I would self-censor every word. Writing it out, spelling it out, on paper would make some memories…tangible. Not only would it exist in my own handwriting before my own eyes, but there is a chance someone else may read it.

    Secondly, I’m not quite sure of what my diary would say. I know I am strong and independent, yet I have a very limited understanding of myself subjectively or objectively.

    While your memoirs aren’t diaries as such, I really appreciated and admired your ability to write freely. However, the most notable thing I took away from The Romantic (which I just finished on holiday) was your ability to show your sense of self at the time of the events (subjectively and objectively), while simultaneously showing the limits of this understanding.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of your memoirs Kate. However, I must disagree with the quote on the front cover of ‘The Romantic’. Personally, I didn’t think ‘The Romantic’ was “sensual” nor “sexy”. For me, there were other far more significant themes.

    Good luck with your future writing. I look forward to the next installment.


    • kate says:

      Hi Bec,

      Wow, thanks for writing to me, taking the time – that means a lot. I’m so glad you liked my two books. I probably agree with your comment about The Romantic not being so ‘sexy’ but we were drafting those lines very late at night at the publishing house and it seemed like a good idea at the time! I did want to warn readers that there was graphic sex in the book as otherwise that might have been a shock.

      Diaries are very personal. Some people keep visual diaries, of sketches, photos, mementoes, scrapbook stuff… there’s no right way. I like keeping one because it helps me see things from a little perspective and see how the patterns develop. I’ve become very slack with my diary though so I must go and try harder. Though it may just be the sign of the worst kind of narcissism…

      Good luck with all your future reading Bec and thanks again for the message, it’s so kind of you – sorry it took a while for me to reply.



  12. Phil Rebakis says:

    Read your first book and have started on your second after seeing you at Kew Library. Books are excellent and thought your talk made the journey so much more real.

    Many observations you make about your inner life are alarmingly real. I wonder if you need to expose yourself to such an extent but I suppose you are comfortable with that style. It reminds me of The Bride Stripped Bare.

    One aspect of life I have come aware of is how everyone is different. There is no average person, no normal man and everyone experiences a different person than another. Men may seem they are forever in search of sex but are less committed but that is not all men. For instance Keats could not have been more committed to his lover and Romeo had no thoughts than for Juliet.

    One can never tell what someone is like by external appearances. The act of sex is an example you have no doubt more aware than myself. It seems to me there are many women who have a certain skill and desire and others who do not. One can not tell just by the conversation and their dress.

    What I wanted to know – What is your next novel going to be about? Is there any interest in making a film? Like other readers I woudl encourage you to continue your writing and wish you all the best as you are a unique writer who has overcome impressive challenges and remains committed to art.


    • kate says:

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks so much for getting in touch and letting me know you liked my book and my talk. Sorry it took a while to get back to you! But I really appreciate the comments. You’re right, everyone’s different, and everyone certainly has a different backstory – we are all creatures of surprises and secrets. I guess in my writing I do show a lot about my inner life, hopes and fears – it’s a risky thing to do and sometimes I do wonder if it’s wise – but what I’ve found is that doing that opens up other people’s candour and confidence, and what we discover is that for all the differences there are so many similarities. Even if only similarities of fear, hope and confusion or wonder. That’s a beautiful and precious thing.

      I definitely revised my attitude to men after I was a sex worker and met so many of them. All very different and very often astonishingly so. Taught me not to be such a judge of others (or myself).

      Not sure what my next book will be, I have a few on the go and hoping that at least one will make it through to publication. I’m impatient to get one going. Thank you for encouragement!

      And again, for the message.



  13. Lisa says:

    Dear Kate,
    Just finished your book- couldn’t put it down. You are so brave to bare your soul like that. It was such a refreshing perspective of prostitution…. Certainly challenged my concept of the profession… As I guess I has never considered the pride a worker could derive from it.
    I am really happy to hear you are a full time writer…. As I wasn’t sure (at the end of the book) if you had retired from prostitution.
    I flew to Melbourne, and was in the st kinda area, the day after finishing your book… I was there for a wedding. All weekend in Melbourne my thoughts kept returning to you and your story.
    Thank you for such a brave, wonderful account of your experiences… I imagine your parents sleep well now & are extremely proud.
    Take care and I wish you nothing but the best

    • kate says:

      Hi Lisa

      Wow thank you, I’m so happy to think you liked my book, and though I didn’t set out to say ‘this is right or wrong’ I did want to challenge the way people usually think about sex work – including myself, before I ever did it. It’s much more varied and complex and challenging – and mundane – a business than people imagine. I did give up sex work in the end, it wasn’t my gig anymore, and now I’m making a living writing full time — which is a lot less physical but just as interesting!

      I hope you had a good time in Melbourne – St Kilda has changed a lot recently, the mood is very different but there are still pockets of the old scene, and it will never be quite the yuppy heaven they want it to be.

      You’re very kind to write to me Lisa and I really appreciate it. Take care.

      Xxxxxxx Kate

      • Robert Cope says:

        I take my dog regularly to the dog beach at St. kilda, and — as the above comments reminded me — was surprised to see an obvious worker in the profession advertising on a corner on an early Monday afternoon. Yes, the profession is live and perhaps well for some, but she appeared (skimpy black dress, red heels, and too-red lipstick) too obviously needy, as (via my rear view mirror) a van stopped, she and the driver spoke before she climbed in and off they went. I admire too, what Kate has done for our understanding, but in this instance, felt the pain of someone too old to still be on the street.

        • kate says:

          Hi Robert

          Sex workers… gosh, they’re everywhere! It’s funny, everyone (including me) tends to think of it as a night time industry but there are brothels that open at 10am. Monday afternoons, why not?

          Street workers are tough. They have a hard time because they’re not protected by the law, and vulnerable to morons giving them a rough time. But most of them are pretty savvy. I’d just be worried that she was cold, and probably tired. It’s physically exhausting being on the street, but at least luckily there are places where working girls can go for a cup of tea and a shower and rest now.



  14. Marcus Ulyatt says:

    Hi Kate, Well I have just finished reading The Romantic. I have to say it was pretty heavy. I liked the sexy bits but even they were so sad. The feeling of being ‘lost’ comes through very strongly. Nonetheless, it engaged me to the end and I eagerly anticipate your next novel. All the best

  15. Texy Lee says:

    Kate, I’ve been a “worker” for years. Indeed I enjoyed your take on working life; it was a breath of fresh air.
    More to the point, I have adopted 2 little varmints (kittens) who love to crawl all over me…I loved your column about your baby puss! x

    • kate says:

      Hi Texy,

      Nice to meet you! And glad you liked my book about the job. It’s always a relief to me when workers think I did a good job.

      Two little varmints! Oh my heart. I bet you spend all day in love with them. I’m about to write another piece about my little cat, as she’s had further adventures. Cats! How did we live without them?



  16. Rachel says:

    You seem like a really amazing person Kate.

    • kate says:

      Gosh. Thank you Rachel! I can see that you’re a very kind and sweet person from sending me this comment!

      xxx Kate

  17. Paul says:

    Hi Kate
    Just finished reading “The Romantic” and was pleased there was no moralising self-criticism at the finish. The theme “Live for the moment” was present often. The only thing that made me uneasy was that all your sexual encounters and affairs seemed instituted by men with your only activity being acquiescence or refusal …never were you the protagonist for any encounter. Does this echo back to your time as a working lady whose sexual contacts were instigated by male clients? In book two was Katie “free but not liberated”?

    Read your book in a day.. wonderful writing
    Best wishes

    • kate says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you so much for writing to me, and your thoughtful comment about The Romantic. It was a book I wrote in the urge to unsimplify things – after In My Skin came out I felt that sometimes my story was being pressed into the shape of a simple ‘triumph’ story which was not at all how I felt about it. So I wrote the second book trying to address some of the complex issues about recovery and also general romantic and sexual aspiration.

      The title is ironic, of course, and my character in the book, having felt fairly strong and powerful in the brothels, finds that in real life a woman like her is still too easily reduced into a sexual object. The irony being that as a hooker she got more respect than as a voyaging sexual woman. The men in the book are all good men, and trying hard, and not malign, but I think you’re right, my character got pushed and pressed into being what they wanted, not what she was trying to be. That’s the lesson of the book I guess.

      I don’t believe in moralizing endings: if I did, I think my first book would have had more success in America where they love that kind of thing!

      Thank you again for writing, and your kind words.



  18. Marthinus says:

    Hi Kate,
    Having read In My Skin recently I feel kind of compelled to congratulate you on one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. I found the book in a second hand book store and what a find it was! Your story captured me from the word go and transported me into completely unknown and rather scary territory. I’m still trying to form my own opinion about your “lifestyle” at the time but the book made me realize that all of us have our own battles and demons to fight within ourselves in some way, form or matter. I guess what really matter in the end is whether we’ve won the battle or won the war. It’s such an inspiration to realize it’s possible to win the war even when against all odds yet perfectly okay to lose some battles along the way.
    Thanks and take care.

    • kate says:

      Hi M,

      Goodness, you make me blush! What a compliment. I’m so happy you liked In My Skin and thank you for letting me know, that’s really kind. It was my first book so I am lucky it came out okay, and to this day I’m thrilled when people say they enjoyed it.

      It’s very much a story, I think, of surprising yourself and confronting and confounding assumptions – I had my own prejudices about addicts and working girls too, which were all changed. It’s astonishing how complicated we can be inside and how we can find strength – and weakness – where we never suspected.

      Life is good for me now so I’m thankful that I learned those lessons. Thank you again for writing to me, and happy future reading!



  19. Kim Farrant says:

    Hi Kate,
    I run public forums about men at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne called WHAT MEN REALLY THINK ABOUT. I loved In My Skin and thought it might be great to invite your father to be a guest on our next forum which is on the topic of Fatherhood on March 21st so please get back to me as soon as you can. I wanted to run this idea by you. I can send you more information on the forums including a trailer from a recent forum with Tim Rogers, Harry OBrien and Barry Heard.
    Cheers Kim

    • kate says:

      Hi Kim

      Woops I didn’t see this until now! My blog is getting horrible amounts of spam so I only dive in to find comments occasionally. Apologies. I hope you found a lot of grand chaps for your march 21st program…

      My dad would almost certainly have declined, as he’s the last person to imagine himself a representative of manhood, but I’ll forward your message to him and I’m sure he’ll be chuffed!

      Thanks Kim and sorry again for not seeing this. I love the Wheeler and must come along to something soon.

      xxxxx Kate

  20. Alicia says:

    Hi Kate,
    Just read ‘In my Skin” finished in it two days, couldn’t put it down! I really enjoy your desciptive yet not contrived writing style. There was nothing in the book that was not critical to the character/story development which is probably why I read it so fast.
    I have a new formed respect for the sex workers of St Kilda, who I often have though of as being robbed of dignity and victims of hypocrisy.
    All the best with future books.
    Kind regards,

    • kate says:

      Hi Alicia,

      How sweet you are to write to me! Thank you. It’s funny, often people say they found In My Skin a hard book to put down – must be the way we edited it… I haven’t read it myself since it was published, maybe one day I’ll have another look to see what people see in it!

      I’m also so glad to have let you reconsider your feelings about sex workers – the women on the street in St Kilda really do do it hard, and sometimes they are literally robbed and abused, but most of them must be tough as guts to get through. Sex workers in general do an incredibly demanding job.

      Thanks again for the generous words, and happy future reading

      Xxxxx Kate

  21. Marcus Ulyatt says:

    Hi Kate, I had the pleasure of reading your magnificent book ‘In My Skin’ a couple of years ago. I recently finished a book with a similar theme, ‘Callgirl’ by Jenny Angell but
    there was no comparison. Having finished that, I was stuck for a read but, by great fortune, I happended across, ‘The Romantic’ in my local bookstore. Only in a few pages so far, I know it will be a book I will savour. I really hope you continue to write novels as you are so supremely talented.
    Kindest Regards.

    • kate says:

      Dear Marcus

      Thank you so much for the incredibly kind words. It’s so lovely when someone writes to let me know they liked my book, really it’s a privilege. I’ve never read ‘Callgirl’ but there are so many prostitute memoirs now!

      I hope The Romantic agrees with you, it’s a bit different to In My Skin but I like it very much.

      Again, thank you for the generous words.



  22. ed iskander says:

    Dear Mrs.Kate Holden,

    Thanks for the following excellent article on Copts in Australia:

    I loved it and have passed it around at my Coptic Orthodox congregation here in northern
    California a couple of years ago, and I have been meaning to contact you for quite
    some time.

    Is there a time that we can speak on the phone, please? I would be very delighted.
    Thanks so much in advance.

    All the very best,
    -Ed Iskander
    San Francisco, CA.

    (408)799-8616 (mobile no.)

  23. Jessie says:

    Hi Kate,

    I just finished reading “In My Skin”, which I got for christmas from my friend who hates reading, and has only finished a handful of books in her 18 years, but finished your book in just two day. Even as a far more avid reader I have never been so moved by any book I’ve ever read, I don’t know what it was about it. I was just so drawn in and mesmerized by your life, I’ve never felt so strongly for a character. I felt Kates desperateness and Lucys pride. I’m so thankful to you and your beautiful writing that for a couple of hours I could be completly transported to another world and another person, so much so that I regularly missed my train stop for being lost in its pages and had to look down at my arms and remind myself when I finished reading that I was infact not Kate, I had no scars on the inside of my arms. “In My Skin” is quite possibly my favourite book, embarrassingly enough I’m usually one for fluffy romances but I love that you’re book meant something more to me and has definatly shifted my perceptions and understanding as well as just being completely enjoyable, though at times slightly uncomfortable in a good way, to spend nights and days reading. I can’t wait to start “The Romantic” I’m sure it will be just as fantastical. I wish I had you’re strength and honesty 🙂

    Jessie x

    • kate says:

      Hi Jessie

      Wow and thank you so much! Your message was in my inbox this morning and just totally made my day. I’m so thrilled you liked my book so much (and your friend, the non-reader, that truly is a compliment) and that you could enter it so completely. That really is wonderful for a writer to hear. I know the story isn’t all easy or comfortable but I am proud of the book – though it’s years now since I wrote it or even read it myself. I’m thinking perhaps I should read it again soon, just to remember what it’s like. I’m very lucky that people have read it and been so generous in liking it. It reminds me, too, that I had a really hard time for a while there and how lucky I am that my life now is so different and good.

      I’m also very glad to have helped you shift some perceptions, whatever they might have been. Most of all when I wrote ‘In My Skin’ I wanted to challenge the misinformation that people are given about addicts and sex workers. The true story – mine, or anyone else’s in that position – is almost certainly more complicated.

      ‘The Romantic’ is a bit different, and perhaps Kate in that book is a little less sympathetic although I think I like it better as a piece of writing. I don’t plan on writing a third memoir, but I’m glad I’ve done two, when I get letters like yours.

      Thank you so much Jessie, really, you’re very kind to write to me and I hope all your reading this year is satisfying.

      Take care

      Xxxx Kate

  24. Sophie says:

    Hi Kate,
    I just finished In My Skin, You are a fantastic writer!
    I love when you find such an amazing book you cant put it down and spend the day thinking about it.
    Cant wait to start The romantic.
    Thank you

    • kate says:

      Hi Sophie,

      Thank you so much, it’s really nice of you to let me know you liked it. Makes me think that after seven years it’s probably time I read it again to see what it is that people like!

      Happy reading


  25. Renate says:

    Dear Kate,

    It feels weird to read about your life in ‘In my skin’, it’s quite intimate. I can’t imagine how many power/energy you must have had to come over everything and to start a life as a very good writer. I am sorry if my English isn’t that well, I am from Holland. I am renewed how the relationship is with your parents right now. I have not finished your book yet but I am very overwhelmed about it, firstly I thought “No it’s not possible that a real human being experienced all those things” and than I saw you, the writer, came through all those things, I was like “WOW, RESPECT”.

    I started to think about my life. I live on my own and I am studying. When I came in my room after a weekend with my parents or family, I felt empty. It was too boring for me to do the normal things my parents also do (wake up early, eat healthy, never drink too much.), so I started to smoke, because that’s different from what my parents do, it makes it some kind of ‘exciting’ to come in my room. That feeling makes me sad, like I can’t be happy with the normal things in life. I know smoking a cigarette is not the end of te world, but I only want to say that I can understand your feeling. It is a difficult and depressing feeling, like life is not special enough, like you need something extra.

    Do you recognize the feeling a described? I am very renewed about your reaction.
    Kate, I deeply respect you. You’re a very strong woman and a big inspiration for a lot of people I guess.

    I wish you all the best in your life.
    Kind Regards,


    • kate says:

      Hi Renate,

      How kind you are to write to me and thank you! You give me lovely compliments. I always feel so lucky when people take the time to write to me, it’s really the most amazing thing for a writer to hear from people she’s never met.

      I don’t know about me being brave but I know I’m glad I wrote about it, because what I thought was a very personal and individual experience turns out to be much more universal. And you’re right, my parents are wonderful and I’m very lucky to have such a good relationship with them after all those times. We love each other so much and spend a lot of time together now.

      I think it’s easy when you’re a young woman to wonder what’s expected of you. I know I felt a bit unreal and empty, and doing something new and a little bit dangerous, like smoking or taking drugs, can make you feel like you’re moving ahead into the adult world. I did heroin because I thought I should dare myself to do it. I wanted to prove something; and also drugs and smoking and drinking seem like DEFINITE things, active things, easier to understand than feelings.

      Perhaps there are other exciting things you can do, to make your life not so similar to your parents’, or that make you feel like you’re in the big world. Something that’s just yours. That’s important. You don’t want to end up doing heroin, Renate, it’s too tiring and it costs much more than it ever gives you.

      Thank you for the message, and respect to you too. Keep reading and dreaming and writing. You’re a sweetie.


      • Renate says:

        Thank you for writing a message to me Kate, it means a lot to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about your story. I am renewed how’s your life now, if you’re happy, if you’ve a friend?

        My feelings are gowing with ups and downs. I don’t know what to do with it. It is very difficult. I never felt this before. I went out, had some boys, it’s like there’s nothing else the world could give me, like I’ve seen everything. I know it sounds crazy and maybe I shouldn’t share these feelings with you. But I know a lot about you and you don’t know anything about me and that doesn’t seem to be fair.

        Now I am 20 years old, but how would it be when I am 40? It’s a scary idea. Sometimes I am thinking about what’s the sense of life, we’re all going to die.

        The sport I do is running, it helps me to get these thoughts away and when I am running for 90 minutes, I am getting high, so thats’s what I am going to do tomorrow because these thoughts are a bit crazy.

        Thank you Kate, because of you I am getting to know myself much better. My thoughts are difficult at the moment, but to face them, makes me stronger and it makes me more serious. It feels like I am becoming an adult.

        If you’re ever coming to the Netherlands, I would like to see you, to get your signature.
        Byebye, kind regards, Renate.

        • kate says:

          Hi Renate

          Just hang in there, being twenty is hard work and I know that everything feels like it matters so much. It does matter, but it doesn’t all have to matter all the time all at once. Keep running, feeling, thinking and also be gentle with yourself.

          xxxxxx Kate

  26. Marg knight says:

    I am glad you exist. I like you. You’re ace!

  27. Christie says:

    Hi Kate,
    I have just completed the book “In my skin”… I have struggled with heroin addiction since the age of 15, and am now 19. Your book has helped me on so many levels, emotionally, physically, psychologically.
    I felt a connection to your story, based on my own personal experiences.
    I have said good-bye to many friends, and even lovers struggling with heroin addiction.
    Your book makes me want to break-free for good, understand my addiction, and maybe write my own personal memoirs one day.
    Thank you!

    • kate says:

      Hi dear Christie,

      Oh my god thank you, that’s such an amazing thing to hear! I’m so glad you liked the book, and am very very happy and moved that it has helped you. When I wrote In My Skin it was very much just my personal experiences, but I find that my story is similar to many other women’s and that means a great deal to me.

      I didn’t get into heroin until I was about 24 so I can imagine that having started at 15 you have been through a lot as a young woman. I’m told that young users bounce back more quickly than old ones, so I hope the road ahead is not too hard for you. I can honestly say, though I loved heroin and in some ways it gave me some good times (and some horrible but important lessons), life clean is so, so, so much better. It really is. Way, way, way better in every way.

      And what I found was that I do not spend the rest of my life ‘not doing heroin’. I don’t think about it at all. Instead I think about how healthy and happy I am and how if I’d stayed on the gear none of what I have now would have been possible.

      Getting off is hard, but once you’re there you’ll be one of the strongest people in the world. You are already strong if you’ve made it this far.

      Get a counselor (a good one), stay away from using friends, do things that make you happy, and take all my best wishes. And thank you again for the message, that’s just more than I could hope for. You’re a sweetheart.


  28. Neil Ryan says:

    Hello Kate. I have just read ‘In My Skin’. I have been going to brothels over the years. The ladies I stayed with were sweethearts. I liked to stay with gentle, kind women. I am a kind gentle guy. I treated them with respect and kindness. Your book truly moved me because I know women who’ve worked there. I never discussed with the ladies any of their really personal life, but we discussed what we were feeling. It was really great to get to know them as people and as friends over time, sharing things together. You book brought up some of the issues in my life, my real need for affection, my desire for companionship I didn’t have. I am a poet/writing student. I want to write about my life, my experiences in brothels and why I am like I am. What advice could you give me? I never wrote down my experiences in any journals/diaries. I should have. Let me know how I can take my story and make it into a possible book. Thanks again. Neil.

    • kate says:

      Hi Neil,

      Many apologies for taking so long to reply, but I really appreciate you taking the time to get in touch. I’ve had a lot of messages from gentlemen who’ve read In My Skin and themselves go to brothels and I’m so glad to hear from them, after all men are half of that world. So many of my clients and my friends’ clients were just gentle and kind men, sometimes a bit lonely, sometimes just wanting some intimacy. It made the job so special (especially on nights when there were the other types of men who weren’t so delightful!). There is a particular kind of intimacy that happens in a brothel bedroom, between two people protected by anonymity, left alone with each other. I think it bodes well for humanity, really.

      If you want to write about your experiences I say just write. See what you have to say, what memories come up, what images strike. It may be just for you, or for other readers as well, you mightn’t know until you’ve written it. I’d caution to be careful in showing it around, as some people are attached to their prejudices, so perhaps a pseudonym might be a thought; on the other hand, if people don’t start talking honestly about this stuff we will all be left fighting prejudice forever. Good luck with your writing and also your friendships with all the ladies. And thanks again for the message.


      • Neil Ryan says:

        Thank you so much, Kate, for your reply. I have a unique story to tell. They’re experiences unique to me and how I see the world. I want to be honest and reveal it to everyone, but I have fears about what people will think of me. Of course, I want to be brave and do it. The friendship with the ladies was, and still is, one of the most wonderful parts of my life. I have always loved the beauty and kindness, and passion, of all the women I’ve known in my life, from ‘the ladies’ to my women friends at work and studies. I hope I can write my story, honestly and with true passion. I will let you know about this work as I write it. Thank you Kate.

  29. John says:

    Hi Kate, Thanks for your reply and I have thought long and hard about writing something from a client perspective should i call it ‘In your skin’ 😛 ?. I have agonized with the thought that would i be brave enough to put a face to it as otherwise it may sound like a group of anonymous penthouse letters and i would love to say so much more. I loved the way that your book uses the entertainment of erotiscm to make a much more serious statement. I have two daughters who are now coming of age & they know their dad is unique to the point they would probably take it in their stride. It reminds me of the working girl who most summed up what i thought the future of the industry may hold. It was in Melbourne in the early 90’s in a shop near st kilda rd (omg was it u?) she told me she was a librarian during the day & her dad was a real snag and there was no other reason she did it but for the naughtiness and the money. I was immediately sold on whatever she was selling …….. sensational sex and a history lesson sometimes simultaneously 🙂

  30. emily says:

    Thanks kate for the reply, I thought when you didnt answer me the first time you didn’t like girls like me, so i wrote a softer blog in the hope you would, a working girl once said to me dominatrix’s are bitchy. So i am glad you replied. There is no writers centre where i live, but will keep it in mind for if i move to aussie next year which we might. I really like that comment in the romantic about you. The english guy said, about you stopped your lifestyle before your face changed. It is something i have thought about myself, for myself. There is so many things that i read and go “oh I know”. Infact i understand the romantic kate more i think. my tough girl was a fraud.

    I have already made changes on my book, worked out ways to correct it. I have read all my life, it’s my friend that i carelessly forget sometimes for sure.
    I have a friend that knows everything about the past and she can give comment once I have finished these changes. Plus I will pay for editing etc. So it is ok.
    So it is my hope that oneday you will be at the library and you will walk past my book and do a U turn and pick it up, as i did with yours. I think you would like it, it’s a quirky learning experience. It will not be under my name as i have a husband and a daughter, but I am sure you will know it’s mine.
    regards M

  31. kate says:

    Hi David,

    Well, thank you. I myself was nearly in tears on that tram, watching someone be unkind just because they could. The world is so ouchy at times. But I try to remember these moments and remind myself that there are more opportunities to be kind than not.

    Thanks for the comment. It means a lot to know that people read my columns, and really get them.


  32. David Herd says:

    Dear Ms Holden,
    You make me cry. For you. For myself. For the whole damn world.

  33. Chris Pearson says:

    Hi Kate,

    As sycophantic and insincere as it sounds – there is a request coming- you are my favourite Melbourne writer. I love the way you write about this city and its people. Your writing almost never fails to be moving and/or challenging.

    Now the sting! I am desperately in search of a couple of A2 pieces that I once cut out of the paper and filed away for future classes (I often bring your writing into my classroom). One piece was about the different versions of Melbourne that co-exist according to each person’s personal history with the city. At least that is the gist of the piece. The other piece was about Melbourne from the perspective of a row boat on the Yarra. I would dearly love to share these pieces with my Year 12 students who are studying a thematic unit titled ‘the imaginative landscape’. I can hardly think of a better Melbourne voice than yours to inform our thinking and would be forever indebted if you were able to help me out.

    All the best,

    • kate says:

      Hi Chris,

      Golly, thank you. I’ve sent you an email via my publicist with the column I think you mean. Am dead chuffed to be appearing in a class room. Good luck to all your students!


  34. N says:

    Dear Kate,

    I saw you yesterday – in fact I was standing next to you on the corner of Commercial and St Kilda roads! You had your ear phones in and I didn’t want to accost you in the street. However, it reminded me to email you. You signed a copy of In My Skin at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival at the Abbotsford Convent and you mentioned at the time to get in touch and let you know what I thought after I’d read it. I was the girl sans car license who was happy to finding a fellow PT-er over 30 years of age! 🙂

    So I read In My Skin and then bought The Romantic. I can’t wait until your next book. I loved both books and bought another copy of IMS for my partner’s mother – she is an avid reader (having been an English teacher) and has a book club with her friends. I’ve always wanted to write myself. When I was 10 years old, I sent off a manuscript for a children’s story that I’d written and typed up on a type writer (!), to a few publishers both here and overseas. I wasn’t published but I did receive a few encouraging responses.

    In any case, I digress. I think that it was incredibly bold of you to publish your story for everyone to read. I found both books very interesting reads and they gave me a lot more insight into a world (of drugs and sex work) that I know very little about. You definitely have a way with words also which makes your experiences so vivid to the reader. That’s what I found. However, I found it hard to reconcile the resilient, tough-cookie Kate who recovered from a heroin addiction with your experiences in Italy (particularly with Gabriele and Donatella at the end). I wondered why you stayed with them once you’d discovered the truth. You were so honest with the men that you met about your past and in return I thought on the whole they were quite dishonest. I wonder about the impact that it may have had on your sense of self-worth. You have said many a time that you are not ashamed of your past nor should you be. But I also noticed in one of your responses to a comment on this website, you wrote something along the lines that you sometimes wonder whether your books and/or writing actually enable you to avoid/cover your true feelings. I wonder about that.

    In closing, I think that you are a fabulous writer Kate and I would love to be able to write like you. Your honesty and realness are refreshing. I hope to catch you sometime at a tram stop somewhere! Looking forward to reading more of your work


    • kate says:

      Hi dear N,
      Hah, you spied me – no doubt with a gormless look on my face and my shoulders hunched against the eternal and always-cold wind on that corner. I am afraid I have betrayed you and succeeded in getting my licence – some former-colleague non-drivers are quite disappointed in me.
      Thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m thrilled you liked both books, that’s lovely. They are quite different – as I was a different person at each moment I wrote them, about different times in my life – and I agree there is a bit of a change between Kates! But then, we’re not simple creatures are we. I’m always interested in looking at the paradoxes inside me and other people, and how we work around them. And if I don’t understand other people too well then I can at least try to comprehend myself a little! Writing about it in public, ah, well, that’s another matter – both helpful and weird.
      Happy reading to you (and your partner’s mother too), and if we cross paths again do say hello, I am not antisocial, only sometimes distracted.
      Xxxxxx Kate

  35. Jurgen Rruga says:

    Hi, Kate, I’ve read In My Skin and adored that book. One think: did you undestand italian? On english I can’t to talk ‘cos i don’t know how.

    • kate says:

      Hi Jurgen,

      Thanks for the comment and getting in touch, I’m so glad you liked In My Skin. As to Italian, er, well I speak reasonably bad Italian and am determined to improve. Ma dolca fa niente!


  36. mark leahy says:

    hi Kate,

    It’s been awhile. I’m not sure if you’ll even remember me. I haven’t been on MySpace for some time, since they began making it ugly and unfriendly. We used to have coincidentally-shared reading choices. I hope you are well. You are looking fabulous. I just joined your page on Facebook, where I do most of my social networking these days. Not as good as the golden days of MySpace, though, where I became friends with people all over the world. I was in Hobart last week and thought of you – all the Antarctic connotations. Take care.



    • kate says:

      Hi Mark

      Oh golly, it’s while now since you left this comment. I get worse and worse at keeping up. I do remember you from Myspace, that seems like a long time ago doesn’t it! I’m not really sure I prefer Facebook or even this WordPress blog but one must try to have some kind of platform. Hope Hobart was nice when you went — yes, one of these days I’ll get myself organised to have one of those writers gigs on a ship to the Antarctic — er, one day. Hope you’re reading lots of good stuff — I’m reading Americans at the moment, fed up with Anglo prissiness — and thanks for getting in touch again.

      Go well


  37. emily Abdel says:

    I have just started to read The romantic. I would really like to make contact with you, I really related to In My Skin. I liked that tough girl and i am also enjoying that sweet needy girl I am currently reading about, I relate to her to.

    You are the second author i have contacted in all my life. My favourite book of all time is anton the dove fancier and other tales of the holocaust by bernard gotfryd because he made me laugh when i should have cryed for him and sometimes i did. I also cryed for you to.
    Yes i have also been a holocaust reader.
    For many years i have done creative writing and i usually do it witty. But my book is just honest, it almost makes me sick and fears seeps up that mess will make me loose everything i have today. layers on layers, fresh flores show themselves to me. i take courage and write the words.
    Do you find when reading your own writting of the past it has taken over your own memory as if now you no longer need to remember?
    I kind of want some one to walk with me through my adventures as if I was never alone.
    regards Emily

    • kate says:

      Hi Emily
      Wow thank you so much for finding my blog and leaving a comment, and I’m SO sorry it took me a while to write back. I’m very flattered to be your second author that you’ve written to – I hardly ever do that, even though I know how nice it is to get feedback from a reader.
      So you’re writing too? It is scary stuff. I don’t think you’re unusual in finding it confronting. Especially if it’s personal. But there is gleam and energy to be had in that fear, too. You’re exactly right, sometimes I find that I remember things as I’ve written them, no long as I used to remember them naturally. I find this problematic. But there is also a great joy to be had in being read by strangers and realising that the words and thoughts I have here in my office can go vast and unexpected distances, and be received more warmly than I could ever imagine.
      Write your stuff Emily – you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to – and keep reading. There are lots of companions to be found in the world. Sometimes they are books. Sometimes not.
      Take care and thank you again very much

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kate,
    I’ve just finished reading In My Skin – could not put it down – & look forward to reading The Romantic. I, too, have battled drug addiction &- the feel of the steel – & was with a violent drug dealing boyfriend before I hit rock bottom. Like you, I moved to Europe for an adventure & the hope of a better life. Lived in the UK for 3 of the best years of my life – clean for the first time in 6 years! Who would have thought when London has such cheap & good drugs?! I was scared about returning to Australia – leaving the secure base of London & being so close to temptation again. I found strength in setting a goal & striving for it. Since returning to Australia, I have been at Uni completing a 7 year doctorate degree. It’s been arduous but so worth it.
    Thank you for your honesty, bravery, wonderful writing. Your memoir is an ode to the power of the human spirit, to travel, to learning 🙂

    • kate says:

      Hi and thank you so much for reading In My Skin and getting in touch, that’s lovely of you. I never expected, when I was writing it, that my own story would be so similar to so many other people’s. I’m so glad for you that you have found the life you want. Drugs have things to offer but I reckon a clean and energetic life is better, and god knows addiction teaches you a few things – like how strong you can be. Well done and how amazing you are for what you’ve achieved.

      I really appreciate your comments and wish you all the best.


  39. Joe says:

    Hi Kate, After hearing about you & your book and then seeing you on First Tuesday Book Club Memoir I got around to buying and devouring ‘In My Skin’ in 48 hours. OMG my life flashed before me in so many ways. Not so much the drugs although I nursed a friend back from a heroin addiction from a shell to an independant person who i ultimately fell in love and had my heart broken as she grew wings and flew away. But also my long interest and association with brothel culture as both a client and then a behind the scenes observer & web site developer. I have had affairs & friendships with numerous working girls and this very night i will go towards the end of a shift pays a small fee and spend a very pleasant 30 minutes and drop the lady home so she can be ready for her next shift. I am not married and have a few of these ‘girlfriends’ in various institutions, all asian these days as its so cost effective and all my ones have children, are not young but beautiful both inside and out and deserve an oscar if its an act, For those moments we are truly together as you so aptly described. I often know their real names and their children’s names and we genuinely care for each other as friends do. Although my own business is different my clients are my friends too. How could you survive a personal service industry otherwise?
    I have a daughter and the ultimate question is would i be happy if she chose to be a prostitute, a word i deplore for its grubby connotations, so based on my experience and assuming it was the right environment and that she wasnt doing it to support a habit, i would say absolutely. I know many men would be abhorred at my attitude but they are hypocrites, If more men see all women as human beings not just nuns or sluts. If sex for money was merely a way of removing complication and more women can see past a ‘hairy back’ and touching and intimacy being a human, right even if it comes with a small price tag then we humankind have a positive future. Thankyou for being a true feminist in every sense of the word and I wish you every success for your incredible bravery.

    Average John

    • kate says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch and for finding my book after seeing the show. It’s funny how many people can relate to In My Skin even though it’s just my own story. I have had quite a few letters from clients of working girls and I wonder at how many stories are out there about the men, instead of the women who are usually fixed on by the media (and as you say, often very misrepresentedly). I remember many of my clients with affection and how we had long, enjoyable relationships within the brothel. Not all of them were nice but many were, and seemed to genuinely respect us and the bonds we made together.

      As you say intimacy is much more than sex, the revulsion about sex work is weird, and there are lots of misunderstandings to be cleared up yet. But people like you saying how you feel definitely helps. Good on you John.

      Take care


  40. Rob says:

    Hi Kate,

    I have just finished In My Skin….. I hope you still listen to Nirvana… oh and The Cure.

    • kate says:

      Hi Rob

      Oh my god yes I’m still a complete 90s music tragic. I even have my old cassette tapes and put them on. Have turned into a fogey who thinks that all the music died in 1998 and most since is rubbish. Luckily those artists are still recording (well, not Kurt Cobain, but..)

      The 90s were a lively time for me. I’m only sorry I was so busy being on heroin that I missed a lot of the other stuff.

      Thanks for getting in touch


  41. emily says:

    Dear kate

    I read your memoir back in 2007 which inspired me to begin work on my own book a few months later.

    I was hoping that you would read my book for me as it is only on its first draft although i have read it and reread it many times. The current title is Trouble with Dyslexia and other dark adventures. It is the story of a girl who wants to become a dominatrix. She is dyslexic and has a dark addiction to sex. It spans 13 countries and is over 3 and a half years. I have always enjoyed creative writing and my english teacher always said I wrote very interesting pieces. I would like you to read it sometime, I am able to wait until you are free.

    Warm regards Emily

    • kate says:

      Hi Emily,
      Congratulations on writing your book! I’m sure mine had nothing to do with it, but I’m so glad to hear that you felt inspired. It’s a big thing to write a whole book (don’t I know it) and even bigger to begin to share it with people.
      I don’t read manuscripts, I’m afraid, as I have a hard enough time concentrating on my own! But I’m very honoured that you’d invite me to. If you want a professional opinion of the book there are various mentorships and manuscript assessment services that you can find: try the writers centre in your main city for a start. And good luck. Be proud of yourself.

  42. Mike Harding says:

    Just finished reading your piece in The Age regarding people’s
    behaviour as pedestrians; when would you like to marry? 🙂

    I don’t know if it’s me getting older or that there are more
    dickheads around but people’s inability to walk in a line
    approaching straight at a vaguely uniform pace drives me
    around the bloody bend. I’d make texting and walking a
    capital offence!

    Go well Kate,
    Mike 🙂

    • kate says:

      Having just blundered my way home from the supermarket and not sustained (or inflicted) any actual injuries but gritted my teeth several times, I can only say I am glad to meet a fellow grumpy! Thanks for the support. We straight-and-conscious walkers must stick together!

      I think people are generally more distracted, more myopically self-involved and perhaps even more congenitally stupid. Or am I describing myself?

      Anyway, thanks Mike. Much appreciated. Happy walking to you.

      xx Kate

  43. Katrina says:

    I just want to say that, not only do i truly admire you, for coming thru the other side of your addiction, & with what seems to be still a positive & optimistic outlook, but i also truly admire & respect your family & amazing friends, for sticking by you, but not enabling you, & always being there for you. It must make you feel like 1 of the luckiest, & most loved person around. To me, that says you must be a truly beautiful person, for them to do that. And to your parents & sister, i think they are amazing.

    • kate says:

      Hi Katrina,

      Thank you so much – goodness, I really appreciate your very kind words. I do indeed feel lucky and loved. My family and friends – they are definitely amazing and I know it.

      You’re so kind to think of me, and to get in touch. Thanks a lot.


  44. Craig says:

    Sorry Kate – I meant memoir rather than ‘novel’ in my comment earlier!


  45. Craig says:

    Dear Kate

    I recently read In My Skin and wanted to let you know what a facinating read it was for me, and how much I enjoyed your wonderful writing. I was very moved by your experiences and have the upmost respect for how you have overcome your addiction and for your humour and outlook on life.

    As a very occasional visitor of sex workers I found your insight fascinating. I find my visitation hard to reconcile with my personal ethics and my view of women, and so from that perspective I found your insight very interesting. I am one of those guys that would want to cuddle and luxuriate in skin contact and kiss all over rather than bang away.

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing your experiences and congratulations on your fantastic work. I am looking forward to reading your second novel very soon and hopefully many more in future.

    By the way, you are a beautiful woman. Hope you don’t mind me saying.

    Best wishes

    • kate says:

      Hi Craig,

      Thanks so much for leaving a message! It’s lovely to hear from readers. And I am always glad to hear from men who visit sex workers, I’ve found quite a few who seem to appreciate a chance to talk about their experiences — a side to sex work which isn’t discussed often enough. Lots of my clients as you know were really just friendly blokes who wanted some feminine company and I enjoyed meeting them. Going to see a sex worker is obviously not automatically an admission to being a sexist sleaze! God knows I appreciated my nice clients so much, and did feel that they respected me. That’s worth a lot when you’re on a busy shift with a lot of other drunken and not so courteous men coming through the door!

      I’m glad you liked the book and thanks a lot for taking the time to let me know. As for being beautiful: ah Craig, it’s all done with smoke and mirrors you know…



  46. anonymous says:


    I just finished reading your book about 10 minutes ago! I wanted to write to you because your book helped me understand alot about myself, and my friends. I’ve dabbled in soft drugs, and was brought up in a loving family much like yourself. I’ve never really felt the need to do drugs. But through having friends that enjoy experimenting and pushing their bodies, I felt the need to join in. I did this so i felt like i wasn’t missing out on anything. Which i felt is how you were introduced to heroin. My friend’s are also starting to push their limits i believe, and dabble in heaver things. By reading your experience’s I became inspired to follow my own path, and not doing things for the simple sake of saying i have, or to be included. Thank you for helping me realise this about myself. Your book was amazing 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your experiences

    • kate says:

      Hi and thank you so much, it’s a lovely compliment that you sprang to the computer to take the time to let me know you liked the book. I never suspected when I wrote it that so many people would see themselves in my experiences, but that’s the most amazing thing I feel about it now. I think the rhetoric of our society perpetually underestimates drug use and how soft and hard drugs are part of many people’s growing up and exploration. It’s easy to get sucked along (though I am not anti-drugs when I say that) and to feel you have something to prove. You’re so right, that was a lot of why I took up heroin, to not miss out on anything and prove I was braver than I felt. Good on you for making your own decisions – that’s as much about maturity and independence as actually trying drugs is.

      Bless you, and thanks for the message.

      Xxxx Kate

  47. Kit says:

    Hi Kate,

    I adored in my skin. I actually Sent you an email (the one listed on this site) hopefully it’ll reach you .
    Your book probably saved my life and I wanted to thank you.

  48. A says:


    I completed IMS this morning. It was one of those books that you read in one sitting, propped up until the wee hours and ignoring itchy contact lenses.

    I just wanted to drop you a small note to say thank you for writing such a beautiful and personal book. I loved the prose, it was such a privilege to spend time with your words and imagination.

    I look forward to reading your lovely words again in the future. I wish you much success and happiness.


    • kate says:

      Hi A,

      Aren’t you lovely to write to me? Thanks! And as someone who is always peering through itchy contact lenses, I shall take your perseverance as a great compliment! What more could any writer wish for than making someone lose sleep for the sake of finishing their book?
      You are very kind with your compliments and I’m so glad you liked the writing. I couldn’t do much about the story but I did ponder over the adjectives.

      I’m working on all sorts of things at the moment – you might have seen my columns for The Age, and I have a second memoir, The Romantic, out if you want more of my adjectives. Happy reading to you, whatever you pick up next.

      Cheers xxxx Kate

  49. Victoria Triggs says:

    I so enjoy reading your articles in the Age, thank you.
    I am recommending that you check out having a “cat park” whereby your cat can go safely outside day or night via a connected (can be existing) cat door into a fully secure enclosure. While other cats can look at your cat they cannot get in to the park nor into your house.
    No matter how small your garden area/balcony is a park can be designed to fit, with towers for climbing, runs, and external tiolet. I saw my first cat park at the RSPCA in Burwood. My two siamese cats lived for 18 years (6 years beyond VET expectation) and my current cats a tabby/torty and chocoalte oriental love going in and out.
    Please feel free to contact me should you wish for more information, I am not a sales agent for cat parks or google to check them out.
    Victoria triggs
    0400 202 149

    • kate says:

      Hi Victoria

      Thank you for the message and the advice: I got quite a few letters about my column with various suggestions on how to deal with Chief the nightmare cat. Lots of ideas about cat tunnels etc. Unfortunately I live in an apartment and don’t even have a balcony so there’s really nowhere I can imagine putting a cat park or enclosure. My little cat doesn’t chase birds or anything bad like that, but she does like to get outside and feel the wind in her fur, so it seems that unless I can terrify Chief out of coming around, we’re doomed to a life of chasing him out the catflap and Boo just having to learn to front up to him. Oh well. It’s making us both very alert and bolshy. I bet you love your torty (Boo is torty as well, grey & pale orange & white) and your chocolate oriental. Please give them my regards!

      And thanks so much for the helpful ideas.



  50. Greg says:


    Just finished reading both “In my skin” and “The Romantic”, I found “In my skin” a very brave and honest book. As per the Ben Cousins example you duscribe how drugs can devestate a loving and caring family, I hope that your book will give these families hope. I found your discriptions of prostitution a true insite into the industry, both on the street and in the palours. I visit frequent palours where I feel that the girls are not exploited or drug uses, although my illussions have now been shattered, I am only a “job” lol.
    I found a “lost” child in your “Romantic”, some one who was looking for love but only found “users”, I can emphasis with your situation. The “tittalation” of this novel (one pink and one black) was well written without being sleasy.
    For some one who does not read regularly I found both books excellent. Thanks

    • kate says:

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you so much, bless you for reading both — that’s a great compliment. I did try my hardest to write a portrayal of both addition and sex work as honestly as I could, not making it glamorous nor tragic, just as I found it. Drugs touch so many families and can wreak a lot of damage — not always the drugs themselves, but the social effects and the life pressures, as much as anything. I consider it my responsibility to front up to what happened with me, and not be ashamed.

      Sex work is such a varied industry, some women have a hard time, others are luckier. Again, I just tried to show how I found it. And don’t worry, you might be a job but that doesn’t mean the girls don’t also like you! — if you’re a good bloke, that is. Working girls have pretty good radar for idiots. 🙂

      The lost child—I think you’re right.

      I’m really flattered you read both books when you’re not much of a reader — again, a great compliment. Thanks for the message. You’re really kind.

      xxxx Kate

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