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. Elin Wee says:

    Hi Kate
    I read your letter to your son in The Age. What eloquent words and deep thought. In the context of #MeToo, this digital age, this new generation (I know, isn’t every generation new, and didnt our parents say that of our generation, and their parents of theirs), and the most recent Four Corners program on consent, you have given words to so many of the thoughts and concerns that have run through my mind. I will, no doubt, borrow some of those words and thoughts, when it comes the day that I approach my own son to let him go into the embrace of another, to assure myself that I have done all I can to teach him to love, respect and protect himself, as well as others.

    I read your letter in awe of the power of your words, and with an ache in my heart knowing that someday, I will have to entrust my son to navigate the world on his terms, without me holding his hand. And as much as I yearn to teach him everything, it is the impossible and there will be things that he’ll have to discover for himself, just as I had.


    • kate says:

      Hi Elin,

      Oh wow, thank you so much for the incredibly lovely message. I had no idea people would respond so warmly to my completely amateur wisdom about boys, but I guess we are all powered by such similar fears and love for our young ones, still small ones or growing to independence. Your own words bring home to me what it will be like to send mine off into the world as you say. The faith required that we’ve done enough to set them up right! It’s breathtaking. But what good mothers, what good people we are I think, to be caring so much and thinking of this already.

      I wish you luck with yours as I hope for luck with mine! And thank you again for the lovely words.
      xx Kate

  2. Sean says:

    Hi Kate, thanks for coming to the Newcastle Writer’s Festival on this past week. I will admit ashamedly that I had not heard of you previously to coming to The Writer As A Reader session that you spoke at, however now that I have heard you speak I am thrilled to be able to discover more about you and your writing. (I have been to many festivals before and even though I am drawn to writer’s whose art I am familiar with I think it is important to discover new and unfamiliar authours). I was so fascinated to hear you speak of your experience working in the book store when you were younger and how by the simple location of where you placed books, and even if you presented them spine up or facing out to the purchaser, that bwould determine whether a book was popular or not. I had never previously thought of how much influence the presentation of a book store would have on whether or not a book was purchased. I also loved your description of location and how you would go to a setting and read a book that was set in that place. Even before the festival I was planning on a trip to Western Australia and was thinking of packing Tim Winton’s Breath which is set in a village in W.A. in order to absorb the atmosphere as I read it, rather than pretend I am there like I usually do as I read books in my small stuffy one bedroom flat. Thanks again for an informative session. I really enjoyed your commentary.

    • kate says:

      Hi Sean, wow thanks for the lovely message. I had such a great time at the festival, and it was my first visit to Newcastle too, which was a beautiful surprise. The atmosphere was fantastic, and my little boy loved the children’s festival up at the library too. That panel was fun, Geordie is such a gentleman scholar and Russell was very funny and astute. It’s a rare treat for a writer to get to ramble about reading, even though it’s such a large part of our work. I adored bookselling, and the art of it (I was lucky to be trained by great people). The joy of handselling a good book to a good reader is inestimable. And yes I am a devoted literary pilgrim. My second memoir is, in my mind, the tale of a pilgrimage to the lands of the Romantics and their places (mostly obscure). Whenever possible I read fiction set in foreign destinations, even unto coastal Wales! Breath is a great evocative piece. In your small flat you might be like the Russian fellow who decided actual travel was too much bother, and spent his time reading so he could travel the world in his mind. Thanks once more for the message. I hope to get up that way again soon. Happy reading!

  3. Siena Norman says:

    Hi Kate, I think I may have a couple of your photo albums. You left them with me when I lived with Matt in Carlisle St. I would love to get them back to their owner so I hope its you. Siena

    • kate says:


      Wow thank you for the message, and nice to hear from you. GRACIOUS you’re still lugging around something I left behind? I don’t have a clue if they’re mine or what they are but THANK YOU, I’d love to get them back if they’re mine. Are you still living around this area? Maybe we can meet up for a coffee. You’re so kind to chase me up.

      By the way young Matt has just had a baby with his partner. Very busy days but he’s going well.

      Cheers K

  4. Siena Norman says:

    Hi Kate, I think I may have a couple of your photo albums. Siena ( Carlisle st in the ’90s)

  5. Thais Junger says:

    Hi Kate,
    My name is Thais,and I’m from Brazil. I’m 20 years old, and a biology student.
    I’ve already started read your book “in my skin” and a few pages later I needed stop reading and search a little more about you.
    I have to say that sometimes I need to stop and think about what I’m reading. Sometimes I think that I’ll cry, because I almost can feel the pain in your words.
    I just started you book, and I really think that YOU’re a fighter. You were incredible writing about your life. You’re a winner for me. Thanks for exist, and pass the message for everyone that reads your book. You and Marjane Satrapi are the best auto-bibliography that I ever read.
    Thank you for open my mind.

    • kate says:

      Hi Thais,

      Wow thank you so much for the amazing letter. I’m so honoured that you read my book and felt so much – and took the time to reply. I’m very flattered to be named along Marjane Satrapi, she’s a wonderful artist. I don’t want to say I’m glad you feel so sad about my book but as a writer it is very satisfying I admit. I had a dark and difficult time for many years in my twenties, but it taught me a lot about myself and other people, and I am so much happier and more confident now. I have a great life, with lots of love and sunshine. But I’m so glad I wrote the book, because I have the most incredible readers. I hope you keep reading personal stories and being so kind as to let the authors know. Being 20 is a delicate and thrilling time, such strong feelings and so much to consider. I wish you well with the studies and everything else. Thank you again, best wishes Kate

  6. Colin says:

    Hi Kate .
    As someone who only new you slightly all of those years ago in St Kilda and then seeing you on Australia story and reading your book , I can only feel proud of what you have achieved since then , I really enjoy your stories and articles and follow your success with great interest .
    Well done Kate and Merry Christmas .

    • kate says:

      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for the message! I’ve known a couple of Colins in my life, so sorry if I’m not sure which one you are – Sam’s friend? Thank you for following my stuff, that’s very nice – hopefully I’ll be writing and publishing a bit more soon. Happy belated Christmas to you too, and happy new year, and happy reading in the future. Your message is so kind.

      Xx Kate

  7. Rix Jones says:

    Hi Kate
    was recommended your book, from someone, I to lived in St Kilda (Mitford street) used to have working girls buzz my apartment for coffee on cold nights (yes only coffee)
    thanks for the honesty in your book. you laid yourself bare and that’s hard to do
    good luck with the next phase of your travels

    • kate says:

      Hi Rix,

      Forgive me for late reply! So flattered someone recommended my book, that’s a nice compliment. You’re very sweet to take the time to get in touch. Yes, I lived on Mitford, such a beautiful street, shame I was too stressed with using to appreciate leafy Elwood.

      Thanks again for the message, really that’s lovely. I’m well and enjoying getting older and more cheerful.

      Take care, xx Kate

  8. Stephanie says:

    Dear Kate,

    I picked up your book at Barnes and nobles. It caught my attention and once I read the back I was hooked. I can not put that book down and now matter how sleepy I may be I find the strength to keep reading. Your past is crazy and u have an amazing way of telling your story. It’s like I was there. So detailed and I can picture everything. You are really an amazing writer and I am so glad that I picked up that book. It was a very difficult stage in your life and one of the things that made me keep reading was when I read that your family never left you. To me that is one of the biggest helps. There is no one in this world who will love you no matter what, other than family. And I think that is one of the main reasons you were able to change. Because you had a lot of support. You were very lucky to have realized what you were doig was wrong before it was too late.. Can’t wait to read another one of your books! Please keep them coming to NY! Lots of love,


    • kate says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      You’re super kind to take the time to write to me. Sorry it took me a while to answer! I do so much appreciate and feel grateful when people let me know they like my books – and a message from New York is pretty cool. I had a very very brief trip there to promote In My Skin a few years ago and would LOVE to come back some time.

      I’m so glad you like the way I wrote the book, and you’re absolutely right, having my family ultimately stick with me, even when I tested their love so much, was my saving. I have my own little boy now and can only imagine how I would never want to let him down if he were in trouble; but also how much I’d want to protect myself from the painful love. I surely learned a lot from heroin, though I did it the hard way. I’m happy now, very.

      Hope you are too, and happy reading in the future – I did write another memoir, called The Romantic: Italian Nights and Days, which is about what happened next, if you’re interested, and am trying to slowly work on something new.

      Thanks again mate, xx Kate

  9. Robin says:

    You’re brilliant, Kate! Thank you so much for sharing your life experience. Your readings are absolutely charming and your observations acute. Very provocative. Your work will help masses of women because it is a viable solution to the rift between the (out-of-touch) perfectionist and youth trying to find their way in the world. Finally,(!) a practical, realistic feminist who has moved through the world not just theorized, about those of us who do. Thank you again for telling us your stories.

    • kate says:

      Hi Robin,

      You’re so kind to write to me, and I’m so bad at answering promptly – apologies! Thank you for the message, what flattery! I’d love to be a practical, realistic feminist – I do get impatient with those who merely/sternly theorise about other women. Though I judge and theorise fairly negligently myself at times. I’m proud of my story, though.

      How sweet of you to buck me up, and I wish you happy reading in the future, of whatever it is that you pick up!

      Cheers xx Kate

  10. abbey says:

    hi kate,
    i loved your book i could really relate to it! i also went down a similar path and i would love to also write a book about my story as i think young girls and men need to hear it ! do you have any tips? im not a good writer so im currently looking for a shadow writer if you know anyone? thanks heaps abbey

    • kate says:

      Hi Abbey,

      Thanks for the message — you’re sweet. I encourage you to write your story! — but alas I can’t help with finding a shadow writer, except to recommend you try the writers centre in your state (eg Writing Victoria) who might be able to help you. Tips: just tell your truth and don’t be afraid. Good luck! xx Kate

  11. joe says:

    Hi Kate,
    In my skin is simply my favourite book of all time. I am a liitle scared to read The Romantic in case it dissappoints in some way but I will anyway.
    I have been forming relationships with working girls of all types for nearly 30 years. I have helped design their shop websites, driven girls on escort jobs & spent hours in the girls room and in doing so have really tried to humanize the girls in advertising and have had great success in doing so. I have had wonderful sex and the best friendships . I often drive girls home from work or meet for lunch. In general we keep the sex in the shop and paid for as it makes for a less complicated life and I am in awe of these girls as they become athletes sometimes having 15-20 customers on a good day. These days in Sydney especially the asian shops have taken over the cheaper end of the market. Work in China for $120 per month or possibly make up to $1000 per day . They are supporting families , buying houses, are generally not on drugs and don’t hate the men that see them most of the time. They are not forced but of course every one struggles with the stigma no matter where you come from. My local shop leaves their door wide open during the day and is not the only one to do so. Although there is security there is never any trouble and women generally own and operate the shops by themselves no gangsters no police corruption. I am pretty honest to people that I do this and I even got busted by a neighbour entering the shop the other day so I said sure and it’s great. I am not ashamed that i pay a relatively small sum for sex and I am proud of those girls that work and support their children and families. There is one person I would happily marry and ‘rescue’ or not but she turns me down preferring to be independant and desperately trying to not fall in love with me. I have had lots of years where I have been in relationships good and bad including helping a friend come back from heroin addiction and in those times I remain faithful to my partner. But shop relationships as you describe so well are special too where you both can live another life both physically and mentally. I am not ugly and I am not destitute & I welcome the day that women and men can do sex work without stigma or backlash. We are closer than we think and brave people like you make a difference. Would i want my daughter to be a working girl ? Not because of addiction I hope but with a cool head and a love of what she’s doing why not I love it and refuse to be a hypocrite!

    • kate says:

      Hi Joe

      Wow what a great message, thanks so much for leaving it on my website and taking the time to write to me. You’re too nice about my book! But I can see you know that world and have been paying attention, you’re one of those great guys who understand what it’s like, not what people expect or desire it be like. Truly the sex work world is both unique and a microcosm of the rest of the world, and has a lot to teach us. Good on you for never being ashamed – I always used to think: what’s to be embarrassed about? Is it that sex workers have sex? Are paid? Are sometimes naked? Are sometimes sad or happy or tired? Isn’t everyone tired or naked or paid sometimes?

      I met some lovely men when I was working. I know very well that not everyone is a schmuck and there are people with lots of respect and appreciation for the job. But it’s so heartening to hear it from blokes, like you, who are willing to say so aloud!

      Thanks again for the message, good luck and happiness with your times in the shop and your partner too, and sorry for taking so long to reply. I really did enjoy reading your words.

      Xx Kate

  12. R.O'M says:

    hello kate, i’m 26,and i read ‘in my skin’ the week it was released, i couldn’t put it down it flowed and flowed.. my father bought it for me after hearing a radio interview (great dad!) i since lent it to someone i no longer know. i want to read it again, i’m going to buy it again. i’d forgot i’d leant it, and tore through my storage under the stairs looking for it, for hours. i can’t really explain what compelled me to write this message on your website but i’m sure it has to do with entertainment. i loved the story and the familiarity. being born in another city and moving to st kilda in 99′ and knowing all the locations i could visualise the dialogue so vividly vvv. i loved the honesty and demure juxtapose erstwhile sexuality. The gossamer of the novel for me, is your vulnerability. i wish i knew someone personally like you, but then again, now i feel i do.

    now that you have my email, i’d love to go for a coffee with you and shoot the shit one time. All the best and thanks again. R.O’M.

    • kate says:

      Hi Rob,

      Aren’t you gorgeous and what an excellent reader of my book you are! Thank you! I think you really got it. And I am so very sorry for incredibly rudely late reply to your message. I hope you’re been cheerfully reading something good.

      Ah St Kilda in those days was a place all right. There are parts of it still that haven’t changed at all: though you must have been pretty young when you lived there in ’99! Probably you weren’t drinking at the Village Belle and playing pool at the Prince when you were 11. But I’m so glad St Kilda people like the way I wrote about it. Should have described more!

      Thanks for the invitation for coffee, I must decline but do keep reading and thank you for being a most diligent and attentive reader of my book. Great work!
      Xxx Kate

  13. Mike says:

    Hey Kate,

    A friend of mine lent me her copy of In My Skin. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read – I honestly could not put it down. It really hit home and made me think about my own situation. I want to thank you for that.

    I was wondering what happened to your ex-boyfriend in the end? Did he get clean? Did you ever see him again?

    Can’t wait to download The Romantic onto my Kindle 🙂

    Thanks again for a brilliant read.


    • kate says:

      Hi Mike

      Oh you’re very nice! Thank you and sorry for late reply (am hopeless), but I did appreciate you taking the time to write. I’m lucky to get such nice messages.

      Ex-boyfriends are all well and long off the gear – Robbie, when last seen, was doing really well an so is James. I’m really glad to be able to say that. And my life is great these days!

      Thanks again Mike, happy reading and take care

      xx Kate

  14. tahnee rossiter says:

    Hi Kate

    I ready your book some years ago now and it is and always will be my favourite book. It is the only book that I can pick up at any page and read over and over again. It is the most honest account of drug addiction I have ever read and reflects the lifes of many people I went to University with.

    So many of us where middle class with loving, supportive friends and not the typical people to get involved in drugs. I remember I had no idea what drugs really were before I experimented in my first year of university. One particular friend I went to university with (and the least likely of anyone) got heavily involved in drugs and I think ended up living a similar life to yours for some years.

    Your book shows how one decision can end up changing your life and the power drugs can have over you. I absolutely loved your book and I have always wanted to tell you this! Please write another! Love Tahnee xxx

    • kate says:

      Hi Tahnee

      And I am so sorry to have taken so long to reply! Almost all my answer begin like this as I am so regularly hopelessly late. But I did very much appreciate your message and amazingly nice words about ‘In My Skin’. Goodness! Too kind!

      I did exactly want to depict what I thought real life & drug use looked like, not what the media thinks it looks like – and that it’s not ‘bad’, ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ or ‘weak’ people who use drugs, but in fact quite a lot of utterly normal and ordinary people and for a whole lot of reasons and with lots of outcomes. I think some drugs have bad effects on some people and my life was certainly pretty horrible for a long time but really there is a lot of rubbish written out there!

      Anyway, sorry, am ranting – but you said some lovely things. I did write another book, kind of a sequel, called ‘The Romantic’ – it’s a bit different to the first one but you might like it. Thanks for reading, Tahnee, and take care

      xx Kate

  15. Erin Black says:

    Hi Kate,

    My name is Erin and I work at Hanover in East St Kilda, a women’s crisis accommodation centre. We house up to 15 women who are experiencing homelessness for up to six weeks at a time whilst we work with them to establish more sustainable accommodation as well as addressing other area’s of support including, drug and alcohol referrals, mental health, domestic violence, and street sex work exit programs.

    We also support fifteen women in a rooming house in St Kilda and approximately 3o other women who reside in transitional housing within the community.

    On Friday March 8th we will be hosting an International Women’s Day event at our site in East St Kilda. We would like to invite you to speak at this event if you are available? As we are limited financially being a charitable organisation we would only be able to pay a limited amount.

    Please can you consider us for a speaking opportunity 🙂 as we know all the women, resident’s and staff alike would be very interested in hearing you speak.

    We loook forward to hearing from you

    Kind Regards,

    Erin Black

    • kate says:

      Hi Erin,

      Thanks so much for the message. I’ve sent it through to my publicist Jane, who’ll be in touch with you as she handles this kind of thing for me! But it’s very nice of you to invite me. Hanover is great.



  16. Hey Kate,

    I just finished In My Skin & loved it. What a brave and powerful book to write.

    Of course I’ve jumped on the bandwagon late, but I was keen to share what I read with our service users here at the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Wondering if you’d endorse us running an exerpt in a future issue of The Professional? Or if you’re ever in Sydney whether you do speaking engagements, as we might be able to plan something for our staff and service users whom I am sure would relate to many things in your book.

    Thanks for writing!

    • kate says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Very nice to meet you and thank you for the message, glad you liked the book. Especially I am relieved when someone from the sex work world likes it. You can imagine why!

      And thank you for wanting to share it around. I’ve previously given permission for the prologue to appear on the Scarlet Alliance website — you are free and very welcome to use that passage too if you like — it’s a fair summary of my attitude to sex work. If you’d like that, do let me know.

      I have been visiting Sydney fairly regularly until just now! — not sure when I’ll be back there to be honest, but I’ll let you know if I am planning a stay — would love to come in and meet up.

      Cheers and salutations xxx Kate

  17. Jessica Thomas says:

    Please realise I forgot to adore you in a public forum because I was dying to communicate. Forgive me? That sounds a little fatuous. I had to turn the light on as I kept burning my thumb on the lighter consulting my dictionary ( I wanted to say factious, but the dictionary proves wrong.)
    Hoping you’ll shine (your brilliant) light on my grammar, spelling & existential

  18. Jessica Thomas says:

    Dear Kate,
    Unfortunately I was unable to attend your recent writing class on memoir.
    And hate communicating pubicly… My question to you, and my greatest struggle is how much do you leave out?
    Going back to the old adage “truth is stranger than fiction”;
    Well that’s kinda it –
    I have so many “subjects/ themes” in my life, plus the subthemes of those: how do yu possibly chose or condense those when they all play part in the motives of a story, what do you leave out for fear of leaving the reader crying “too much”?
    Awaiting your reply, (and another workshop)
    Best x

    • kate says:

      Hi Jessica,

      And thanks for getting in touch! Yes I did my memoir workshop last week and it was fun, but a only a small group could fit in the room.

      If you’re writing something about yourself you’ll know that what you omit is as significant in some ways as what you include. Basically I judge all my personal writing by whether I think it’s fair, just, conscientious, and discreet. I don’t include children, or information that was passed on to me that I didn’t hear myself. I don’t include others’ business like sexual violation or awkward histories, unless I can utterly disguise their character. Even then, people who know me might be able to identify that person. I think you have to be very, very careful.

      I think the main thing with memoir is to write one version for yourself, and another (based on the first) for other readers. And yes. Don’t overwhelm the readers. Let them do some of the work themselves.

      Good luck!

  19. fabian salamon says:

    Hi Kate, I just read your article (online) about Luna Park. Having been born in St Kilda half a century ago and raised for the first 20 or so years in its orbit, I totally related to your description of its almost mythical status for local residents. As a kid in the early 60’s , one of my first memories is of being taken on a balmy summers’ Saturday night with my parents and brother for a night out (free entry was a god send for my parents in those days) to enjoy the free entertainment such as the Giggle Palace and Carousel.
    Having left Melbourne a decade ago, your article reminded me of all that was special about St Kilda once. Even now when I visit melbourne I am compelled to visit St Kilda and its sub-suburbs (east St Kilda, balaclava Elwood) to smell and taste and feel what set it apart from any other area of melbourne. Much of that essence has been lost over the years but somewhere in its core there remains a flame of individuality that was, is and always will be: St kilda.

    • kate says:

      Dear Fabian,

      Thanks so much for the message! Sorry it took a little while to reply. I’m so glad – and relieved, as you’re a St Kilda long-timer – that you liked my article. The editor wanted me to write a personal take, as someone who’s lived in the area for a long time too – though not as long as you did. I’m happy it brought back memories. I still live around here and I love it – the way it changes, and the way it stays the same. There’s nothing like it. Good times and bad – they’re all dissolved in the shared universe of St Kilda.

      Thanks for reading!



  20. Marcus Dabb says:

    Dear Kate,

    Having my horizons pleasantly broadened by the novel 11 minutes I decided to do one of those searches “If you liked ____ you will love ____” which brought me to your book!

    There were some striking parallels….you too were a sensitive soul struggling to navigate that difficult post-adolescent phase of finding your identity, you also found self-expression through journaling, stoked your imagination with books etc etc.

    What made your story infinitely more moving is that unlike the novel, the events actually happened to you. I found the early part of the book really hard going as my heart broke for you as I imagined the terrible pain you nursed. Reading it before bed was not a good idea as your story effected my sleep and inhabited my dreams.

    But then just like your fictional counterpart you began feeling more empowered and your true essence began to surface. My spirit soared as the sun burst through and joy became a more constant companion.

    Witnessing you retain your tendency through all the ordeals was such a life affirming experience. Hearing you savour the absurdity of life and laugh at it was equally heart warming. Listening to you never giving up hope….still reading your books….having your daydreams….and journalling away, well it all just captured the amazing propensity humans have for resilience.

    But what superlative could describe your decision to be so vulnerable, so breathtakingly honest, in a world that panders so much to image? You could have easily glossed over those things you said and did which didn’t paint you in the best light, but you didn’t and isn’t that what makes human so loveable really? Yes we can be brutish and callous at times but in a strange way that only makes the generous, thoughtful actions mean so much more.

    I wonder how much joy that old man derived from that miraculous evening with you? I bet the memories fed his soul for months and months.

    Thank you for having the courage to tell your story and allow yourself to be seen.

    Please give your family members a hug from me and all the readers who were equally in awe of them. If it’s true that the greatest capability we have is to love unconditionally, then your family should be sainted (as should you & some of your friends).

    I adored your writing style and I’m thrilled to discover you’ve written another book which I will endeavour to get my hands on.

    Elizabeth Gilbert shared this gorgeous thought:

    “One of my favorite passages in literature is from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. In it, Calvino described an imaginary town called Eufemia, where the merchants of all nations gather at every solstice and every equinox to exchange goods. But these merchants do not come together merely to trade spices or jewels or livestock or textiles. Rather, they come to this town to exchange with each other – to literally in personal intimacies. They way it works, Calvino wrote, is that men gather around the desert bonfires at night, and each man offers up a word, like “sister,” or “wolf,” or “buried treasure.” Then all the other men take turns telling their own personal stories of sisters, of wolves, of buried treasures. And in the months to come, long after the merchants leave Eufemia, when they ride their camels alone across the desert or sail the long route to China, each man combats his boredom by dredging through old memories. And that’s when the men discover that their memories really have been traded – that, as Calvino wrote, “their sister had been exchanged for another’s sister, their wolf for another’s wolf.”

    This is what intimacy does to us over time. It causes us to inherit and trade each other’s stories. This, in part, is how we become annexes of each other, trellises on which each other’s biography can grow.”

    Just as the books you read & stories you heard have helped shaped you into the beautiful soul that you are, so has your story made an impact on my life & countless others who’ve read your memoir.

    Stories keep us going, evoke our tears, laughter, wonder…they are our life blood.

    Thank you for sharing yours.

    Reading your book made me think of Bukowski, another sensitive person who took awhile to find his voice but when he did… it roared!

    I will leave you with one of his poems which to me sums up the courage you showed to reclaim your life and allow your effulgence to emerge.


    The Laughing Heart

    your life is your life
    don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
    be on the watch.
    there are ways out.
    there is a light somewhere.
    it may not be much light but
    it beats the darkness.
    be on the watch.
    the gods will offer you chances.
    know them.
    take them.
    you can’t beat death but
    you can beat death in life, sometimes.
    and the more often you learn to do it,
    the more light there will be.
    your life is your life.
    know it while you have it.
    you are marvelous
    the gods wait to delight
    in you.

    • kate says:

      Dear Marcus,

      What a gorgeous letter. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time to make me feel good. Never ever when I was writing the drafts of In My Skin did I imagine I’d get letters from readers – I can’t tell you how amazing it is! But you’re so right, with the quote from beautiful Calvino (I am not a fan of E. Gilbert but I admire her taste in that quote!) and the trade in stories. What I’ve unexpectedly found is that by telling my story and truth I seem to have helped other people understand that they can tell theirs. That’s very precious. It’s very humbling. And something I’m proud of being part of.

      There are few things more moving in the world than humans forgiving each other and themselves – not abdicating a sense of responsibility or remorse, but just forgiving human frailty. I still think it’s one of the loveliest things.

      Thank you again Marcus and for the Bukowski poem too – that was a beautiful letter. Happy reading in the future – and happy adventures through other stories.



  21. Dear Kate Holden,

    The Ubud Writers’ and Readers’ Festival is coming up. I too would like to attend, but my time in Bali ended when my children and I fled the Island of the Gods ahead of plans for murder.

    While you are there you may see Uluwatu Handmade Balinese Lace and Kori Restaurant and Bar. You may hear rumors of my memoir Eleven Demons-Secrets of Deincarnation in Bali.

    From a review in TEMPO (English, 28 Aug 2012)… “with its host of idiosyncratic and intriguing characters, the book is a walloping good read.. This riveting and powerfully evocative work… will make a(n) indispensable gift for anyone who wants to know what Bali is really like behind the paradise facade of five-star hotels, stunning temples, and extravagant pageantry…”

    But the review continues: “Eleven Demons might be hard to come by in Bali. When the publisher sought distribution and sales outlets on the island, bookstores declined with “we know some of these people” and “we’re afraid of retaliation.” Indonesian and English-language magazines and newspapers refused to carry reviews when it came out.”

    There is no better confirmation of Eleven Demons than the fear it engenders in both Indonesians and expatriates.

    So with the normal channels closed to me, I would like to draw your attention to the book. Please look at uluwatu(dot)com. Bali is lovely, but self-censorship is how it usually begins, and when the writers lead the way, even out of fear, others soon follow.

    Michael Donnelly

    • kate says:

      Hi Michael,

      Sorry for such a late reply! Ubud festival is long past now. I have to say I had a ball.

      Thanks for the information about your book. I didn’t hear about it when I was there. But I wish you luck with it.



  22. simone says:

    Hi Kate,

    When your book came out I heard of it,,,,,,from some work people who had strong opinions about it. I didnt read your book because I was too caught up in being self involved and queen of my own universe,,, which by the way was horrible.

    I got caught up in a few strong opinions myself, about a book and author I had never read, nor met,,,, fuelled by the strongest measures of self importance, negative projection, and above all else self centred drama. A few minutes of non love and judgement for the sake of its twisted reward right back at me.

    Then I completely forgot about it.

    Five ish years on……I needed to spend some time while waiting for an appointment….I went to a bookshop to browse…and found a small copy of your book “in my skin”. Kate Holden. Your name jumped out at me and I opened the jacket and saw your picture in the black dress or top with the zip and I studied your face. There is no doubt that you have a “striking” face……however I couldn’t “place” you……if that makes sense. I felt very “intrigued” by that picture…….its as if your face is saying “look this is just where I have been…..its truth and story……but I am much more than my memories and my feelings about them…….come and get to know a bit more!!”.

    I opened your book and read,,,I think the first chapter. I was very drawn in to your story…….I think the story of your short time with the elderly gentleman was the moment I felt myself really draw a sharp breath. I have to admit I was really moved by your compassion and thought about this person…..the respect and kindness and open mindedness you shared with him. My instinct told me,, that you may be a subscriber to the idea that love conquers all and have some sort of bold gumption to follow that through…..with your courage to open your heart and life in your book.

    I didnt buy your book as I was a bit poor,,,,however I sourced a nice deal with a second hand copy via ebay………..while this may not contribute toward the financial side of things for you, I hope sending my love and eagerness to absorb your book and make amends for my fearful contibution so many years ago may offer some repair in the universe.

    It must be strange to get reminders of this part of your life when you have most likely moved on from it …..I admire your courage and …may I say..guts …. to continue to read and reply to public who have come across your book….this book. They say in some eastern spiritual teachings, that to transcend from the duality of mortal mind (the war between “right” and “wrong”……judgement …….projection etc) is to go beyond these illusions of the mind…….formed from fear…. and find the “true” self…..the authentic core,,, where only love lives..pure love……and there the higher self will emerge, magnificent and splendidly real…..and inherently know and begin,,,,the higher purpose and magnificent contribution to the world through their origional and unique experience that only they can claim.

    It feels to me that this is where your story and book ,,, and maybe the invitation your lovely photo seems to give…..is coming from.

    And thats why I bought your book.
    So…….thank you.



    • kate says:

      Hi Simone,

      Well you are just lovely. What a letter! I hope you didn’t think that my lateness in answering meant I didn’t totally appreciate your kind and thoughtful and generous words. What a lovely person to send me all these thoughts.

      Don’t worry that you didn’t think much of me at first, I can understand that, and there were times when I was doing a lot of publicity and being in the press a lot when I thought I rather hated me too! But I’m so glad you picked up my book and yes, I think you were reading my little face quite rightly. I wrote In My Skin hoping that I could just tell the real story, not the story people might expect, and with no apologies but a lot of conscience. I’m so lucky: that’s exactly how people have received it. I feel so fortunate that so many readers are also so kind as to let me know how they felt about it. Honestly, it’s such a privilege.

      I don’t know what else to say, but your letter just made me smile a lot. Thank you Simone! I hope your lovely heart finds lots more books to warm it.

      Xxxxxx Kate

  23. Zing says:

    Hi Kate, thanks for a great book being In My Skin (I have not read the second one, but I will). What I found particularly interesting is your brutal honesty – few people would be willing to share so much, so thanks for that.

    Anyhow a question for you – on pg 99 you wrote “I felt that I’d identified some of the reasons why I used – lack of self esteem, a wish to obliterate myself – and yet had no idea how to approach fixing them”.

    I had similar feelings for most of my life however my self-destruction was caused by a messed up childhood and family. What interests me is that you wrote that you had a great childhood and family life so I was wondering:

    (1) if you know why you became so self-destructive?
    (2) if you have overcome these feelings?
    (3) how you overcame these feelings?

    Although I am much improved, I am still searching for understanding and answers for myself.

    I hope you are happy and going well now.


    • kate says:

      Hi Zing,

      Thank you so much for writing to me! I’m glad you liked my book.

      I don’t quite know how to answer your questions, though I realise I probably didn’t explain things enough in the book. I’m still doing therapy so maybe one day I’ll work out why I was self-destructive. In a way though I think part of me wasn’t, it was just naïve, or trying hard to become mature. Another part was definitely looking for savagery: perhaps to find some way to really feel the world’s friction. Ironically, heroin of course numbs you, as well as gives you lots of opportunities to feel the friction of real life in a painful way. Now I think I am whatever the opposite of suicidal is, much more concerned with repair and building up strength. Maybe because I know I’m strong but I don’t ever want to risk being weak in case of trouble.

      Does that explain a little? Getting older makes me want to be stronger. Also having respect for myself and what I’ve achieved, at the same time as being modest and giving credit to all the things that helped me, like my friendships. Not talking myself down: that’s too easy to do isn’t it. And being grateful for life and how much I have.

      I hope you are finding that understanding and answering that is inside you. Thank you for the message and the kind words.



  24. Claire says:

    oops…. I omitted to mention that a minuscule article in ‘The Saturday Age’ news p.5 was spotted the same day. The article essentially states that Fairfax is cutting 1900 jobs over three years. They are half way there. Many reporters, editors, blah blah blah..have left.
    Kate, the gradual decline in readership happened when your fortnightly column was replaced by Germaine Greer. Pft! Now I must step down from my soap box and start up that lobby group!!
    kind regards

  25. Claire says:

    Hi Kate,
    It was a pleasant surprise to meet up with you on the tram in Swanston st yesterday arvo following your enlightening presentation in the ‘fact, fiction, truth’ forum at the Wheeler centre. I am now aware that an author’s memoirs are an authentic narration of their own world view and perception. No more, no less.
    Meeting you yesterday confirmed that you are a genuine, warm and talented woman.
    Looking forward to reading more of your literature!

    • kate says:

      Hi Claire

      Yes it was nice to meet you and I hope I didn’t give you a fright on the tram! Glad you enjoyed the session, I did though of course we didn’t get anywhere near sorting out the issue of truthiness. But who honestly could expect 288 pages to be the whole truth?

      You’re very kind and I wish you lots and lots of happy reading. And lobbying, though surely there are more worthy causes than my employment. 😉



  26. Christina Cussen says:

    Dear Kate,

    I met you on Saturday night at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival Liner Notes event (you may remember me as the girl who gushed at you like some crazed groupie about what a huge fan of yours she was!). I’ve been meaning to write to say again how nice it was to meet you and how much I appreciated the warm and gracious manner in which you responded to me. I couldn’t think of the right way to put it until I realised that you’ve already written about it-


    And that’s exactly how I felt. If I can become a writer even half as clever and perceptive as you I will be ever so happy.

    With very best wishes,

    • kate says:

      Hi Christina,

      You didn’t seem mad or manic or dangerous at all! Only very nice and hopefully happy after a lively evening. It was a good gig wasn’t it? I love it when people lurch out and tell me nice things about my books – who wouldn’t? Lord knows I am very neglectful of writing to authors I like and saying nice things to them so I am even more grateful when people do it for me.

      You’re lovely, and I’m more than glad to have made you glad. If that makes sense.

      Happy writing Christina, and reading too

      Xxxxxx Kate

  27. mike says:

    Hi Kate – thanks for the lists of books on the site – very useful pointers for reading material. Loved your first book – read it twice. I’ll get your second book – I wouldn’t worry at all about negative criticism in reviews – many readers seem to expect the same thing every time from a writer/artist. Mike

    • kate says:

      Hi Mike

      You’re so sweet, and thank you, I’m not really bothered by bad reviews but sometimes just a little perplexed! So glad you liked my first one. And happy reading, if you’re like me and you’re buiding up a terrifying high pile of to-read books by the side of the bed…

      Ta for getting in touch, cheers

      xxx Kate

  28. Greg says:


    Enjoyed both your novels, would enjoy listening to one of your presentations but noticed your have nothing on the weekend of the 23-26th (flying to Melbourne for the football??), do you do quiet dinner dates???

    • kate says:

      Hi Greg,

      Sorry, you wrote to me a fair while ago! You’re very sweet but no, no dinner dates for me. But I’m glad you liked my books.



  29. Jay Carmichael says:

    Dear Kate,

    In 2005, I said you were a good writer because everyone else was saying so. I was an impressionable child, then, when you first entered “the public domain”. And I’ve a montage of the things I saw on TV (maybe the Tuesday Book Club?) about In My Skin. I also watched ‘Leaving Lucy’ on the ABC.

    This’s a tentative draft, which it’ll always be a draft so long as I live—a writer’s work isn’t finalised until death, apparently. But I know for sure that the following sounds stilted. Writing this to you, to express my admiration, is like writing to my favourite fiction author, Patrick White (but I can’t for obvious reasons).

    I never bought your memoir despite all the hype. I don’t like doing that. I enjoy stumbling across writers myself, like Paddy, who I spotted stashed away in the crammed, towering shelves of The Paperback on Bourke.

    I had no money to buy your memoir when it first appeared. I was tempted, know you that. It wasn’t until the other day that I spontaneously purchased a copy of In My Skin: a memoir. I thought the timing was right. It was the last copy on the shelf.

    But, between you and I, I think the universe was trying to tell me to.

    When I started at RMIT this year in the PWE course, I wasn’t expecting to hear from industry professionals. But guess who came and gave a lecture? You. Note, this is before I’d bought your memoir. And, one or two weeks ago, you came back to speak about personal columns. Both were dazzling talks; need I say more?

    Yes, I do.

    From the first lecture, you said something which has stuck with me ever since, its claws are clutching my brain. But its claws don’t hurt, no, they comfort, because what you said comes into consciousness whenever I’m having a tough day of writing:

    “The First draft is completely yours, all yours. The subsequent drafts are when you think about the reader, but your first draft is all yours and you should cherish that. Never throw that first draft away.”

    So that’s who I’m writing for, I tell myself. Me first, then the reader. And that helps me justify what I am doing. You also spoke about fictionalised autobiographies. I want you to know that your advice in both lectures has influenced my work, helped it take some shape.

    And I want to thank-you.

    So, I bought In My Skin, mostly because of the lecture about writing person columns, which you gave in Fiona’s class. I’m not 100% certain that you’d remember me, but I was the student who said that Germaine Greer’s replacement column in The Age is horrible.

    As an aspiring author myself, you’re an innovative craftsperson who I can learn from, watch. I can read your memoir as many times as I like, yet I still come away despairing. Despairing because it’s so perfect, so astonishing. I shows me how hard it’ll be to develop my own style.

    Actually, there’s so much knowledge about the craft of writing in your memoir that it reassures me just how hard it’ll be to get my little novel off the ground. Sigh.

    So I hope I can hear you speak again. I just wanted to let you know how much I adore your writing. All the best with the rest of it and I hope to see you ‘round.


    • kate says:

      Hi Jay,

      Well, that was a tremendously nice and may I say well written letter which I really appreciated. I have to admit I am far too nervous to write to the authors I admire so I’m grateful you overcame your trepidations, and thank you so much for the excessively but welcomely flattering words about my writing! Sorry it took a few days to get back to you, I’m rushing around all the time these days it seems and I don’t like to answer messages when I’m in haste and all distracted.

      But I am really glad you enjoyed my two talks – both times I was a bit poorly prepared because of late notice but very happy to come and talk about subjects so close to my heart. It helps me find out what it is that I know or think, too. As you know so much of writing is intuitive or subconscious and there is the fine line between concentrating and forcing, trying too hard or just being disciplined… so a chance to look at forms from the outside is nice. I don’t know what to say about your words on my own writing but I’ll take them as gigantically nice compliments!

      I hope you’re enjoying the degree at RMIT. It can be a bit of a funny old place but the people, the staff and the other students, and the encouraging atmosphere, hopefully make up for the slight haphazardry. Most of all I hope you’re finding that you can surprise yourself with your own writing. I think that is the most extraordinary lesson of all really. And I do really believe what I said about the first draft being yours. Cherish that privacy and the freedom to make it what you want!

      Good luck Jay and keep up the reading and creating. Thanks again for getting in touch. And yes, I think there is no doubt that my columns are totally better than Germaine’s, though I wouldn’t say it to her face.

      Xxxxx Kate

  30. Penster says:

    Your book is really inspiring, it takes guts and talent to write like that but to have lived it first and put it out there, well, salute. Would love to do your course at RMIT (studied there years ago also) but in Sydney now and puddling through my own book, far more prosaic subject matter tho. Hope to catch you on a speaking tour or similar at some stage, am a yooge fan! Good work on drugs and health also.

    • kate says:

      Hi and thank you! What nice things to say. I hope you’re finding your way with your own book whatever it’s about – it’s not the subject but the telling, remember. I sometimes come up to Sydney so if I ever arrange a talking gig or anything I’ll post it on my site. Thanks and good luck to you too.

      Xxxxxx Kate

  31. kate says:

    Hi Kit

    Apologies, I got a bit distracted after I had my drugs piece in the paper! I was really pleased with the amount of response I got to that piece and was glad to contribute to people’s thoughts about drugs and why people do or don’t take them. I was very ignorant and fearful of drugs when I was young, so it was all the more improbable and shocking that I ended up being an ‘expert’ on them in the public world!

    It’s complicated, why people take drugs in the first place but I think it serves to contemplate:
    1. Peer pressure
    2. Feeling that you should accept challenges
    3. Wanting to try new things
    4. Wanting to test boundaries
    5. They feel good
    6. They make you feel that if it’s possible to change the way you feel so easily with a substance, what else might be possible?
    7. To piss people off
    8. To make yourself happy

    What users actually experience might confirm all those things, or not, or only for a while – and others manage to use drugs contentedly and safely for their whole lives. It’s complicated. But one thing I know for sure, making criminals out of users doesn’t even achieve the thing it’s supposed to do, nor is it fair or just.

    Hope that helps!


  32. Andy says:

    Hi Kate,

    Never before have I had the overwhelming desire to write to an author. I finished In My Skin four days ago, and I still haven’t completely come down from the rush of emotion that welled-up in me. In a guilty way I’m glad that someone with your artfulness and skill with words and ideas found themselves in the circumstances you did, so that I could share the experience. I was utterly transfixed by your story, as well as by the way you told it.

    There was much that I could directly relate to – I’ve never dabbled in heroin (but have experienced a different addiction) however I’ve lost some dear friends to it and, thankfully, had some survive it. I deeply admire the crazy courage with which you took up street prostitution, the strength with which you overcame heroin and the bravery that led you to publish your memoir – without knowing how positively it would be received by so many.

    I’m looking at the world with refreshed eyes and heart. You are an inspiration; a hero. My default setting is to be closed, clam-tight. I hope to keep your openness in the front of my mind. You’re gobsmackingly amazing!

    Yours gushingly,

    PS I’m delighted that I can now move on the The Romantic. I need more of you.

    PPS I was thrilled to hear that you play bass. Playing guitar is one of my delights in life. It’s more lounge room than pubs or clubs for me these days, but let me know when you’re ready to form a band with me 😉 I bet you could write some killer songs!

    • kate says:

      Hi Andy

      Oh, you made me smile! What a generous message, thank you – and for taking the time. I don’t mind some gushing at all, believe me. Though I don’t think I quite deserve it, believe me I am entirely frumpy. But I’m so glad you liked my book and I hope you like The Romantic too – it’s a little different.

      I guess the thing that most stuck with me from my adventures in my twenties was the (late) realization that people were full of surprises and so was I. I really believe this is a crucial thing to learn. It opens such possibilities and also such possibility of compassion. I doubt you have really been as closed up as you say but I’m so very glad if I’ve helped you remember how astonishing the world is. And I must say I appreciate you imagining how it was like for me to publish the book not knowing how people would take it.

      Bass, ah, yes my bass is sitting neglected in its case at the moment but I must get it out! I was never much chop at song-writing but I do love a good bassline. Thanks for reminding me.

      Take care Andy and thanks again for the message, that was very kind of you.



  33. Lisa says:

    Dear Kate,
    I have just finnished and like several others it was 2 days. I live in Elwood and have just turned 30 myself. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly. I am really grateful for your courage in writing and publishing this for the world to see and for generations to come. There is such freedom and power in honesty? You have really given those whom have not seen or thought about each persons story something real, beyond characters you may pass in the street. Your sharing on the street dynamics and ways of life and your wonderful family’s support was something I cherished in the descriptions. I was not aware of your story until a friend gave it to me – but have recommended it already to several people this week. What a decade, you in your twenties. I really hope little notes like these are frequent and filled with thanks and love. xx

    • kate says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Oh you’re so sweet, thank you. It’s always amazing to get a message from someone – you know, writing a book you somehow never believe that anyone is going to actually read it. But I’ve had the most amazingly nice responses. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

      Yes I had an interesting time but I know lots of people have outdone me! What I am pleased with about my life is that I discovered I could surprise myself, and so could other people. That’s not a bad thing to learn…

      Happy future reading Lisa and thank you again, that was very generous of you.



  34. traceena says:

    u think ur like ‘original’ oh really?self obsorbed little copyier i remenber u when u were on smack it was such a put on when u could , gee uve made such a false interpretetion of the person u really were i u sucked the characters of people u meet and turned them into to u .ring n e bells missy?…

  35. Lesley says:

    I just finished In My Skin. What a fantastic book – you’ve given me a total different view of addicts and working women. And I have so much respect for your parents and the courage they have. Well done.
    You are a true role model.

    • kate says:

      Hi Lesley

      Thank you so much! How sweet you are to say this and to take the time to contact me. I really appreciate it. I don’t know about being a role model – at the moment I’m feeling shabby about not working hard enough! – but I’m fortunate to get the chance to share my story in public. My family is wonderful, I agree!

      Thanks again and I hope you enjoy your future reading

      Xx Kate

  36. Matt says:

    I wholeheartedly support the general tenor of your recent article in the Age on the travesty of our drug laws. However, I would like to make two important points which I hope you will accept as being made with best intentions. Firstly, you make reference to “overdose” as well as “dangerously fluctuating potencies” and “potentially lethal drugs”. You for whatever reason reinforce the notion that heroin by itself is life threatening in “overdose”. The reality is that it isn’t. Rather than explain this in this letter, I invite you to view my presentation “Heroin, the truth” on YouTube. The address is- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqw64lOWy1c .
    It is extremely frustrating to see articles by people such as yourself which are apparently intended to challenge the status quo regarding drug laws, but which end up perpetuating the same mythology that is actually crucial in assisting these anti-social laws to remain. In other words, it is of limited value for you to write an article calling for liberalisation of drug laws that contains and therefore reinforces the foundation myth/lie (fatal overdose) that demonises heroin (morphine) in the eyes of the general public and makes it less likely that they would accept changes to the current laws. I am aware that even as an ex-user, you may believe the overdose myth, so it is important for you to view the presentation. The second point is that you assert that the current drug laws are based on “genuine concern for the well-being of society.” I don’t know whether you actually believe this or not, however a statement like this couldn’t be further from the truth. The facts are that apart from the smoking of cannabis and inhalants, the “illicit” drugs are far safer than the “legal” ones. The laws have nothing to do with the dangerousness of “illicit” drugs. Rather it is a cynical way to divert taxpayer’s money into the “prison industrial complex”. Kate, it is a massive wealth creation and employment scheme initiated by and forced upon us by the US. I can only postulate on the reasons why, but articles such as yours never actually contain the truth. Maybe publications such as the Age are preventing the truth being published. The following are the salient points, the truth if you like:
    1. Heroin (morphine) in itself, is a very safe drug and
    2. Our drug laws are imposed by the US and our acceptance of them is about protecting the military alliance with the US rather than protecting our citizens.

    I suggest that until the public is actually told the truth about drugs such as heroin and the system that keeps the possession and use of some drugs illegal, little in terms of public opinion will change. Again, this letter is intended to be wholly constructive in its criticism and I hope you take it as such. Matt.

    • kate says:

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful message, and apologies it took so long for me to answer. I’m glad you read my article in the Age and took the time to point out where I’d miscommunicated. You’re quite right, ‘overdose’ and talk about potency do give the impression that heroin is inherently dangerous – I don’t believe that but as you say it’s part of the myth. My understanding is that most fatalities come from mixing drugs (eg heroin with benzos) and overestimating tolerance. I never myself overdosed so I may have a faulty understanding.

      Personally I think that many drugs are safe and enjoyable in guided use, and that criminalization encourages behaviour and qualities of drugs that are partly responsible for any ill effects. I don’t take any party or heavy drugs of addiction anymore but like most of us I use medication, caffeine and alcohol and I’m quite aware of the arbitrariness of their legal status.

      Thanks Matt and I’m going to continue to think and hopefully write about all this stuff, so I appreciate being challenged.


  37. A girl says:

    A girl says sorry that she forgot to say that she likes your writing very much and is happy that she has lately discovered your books and columns even though she found much later than everyone one else and only after the Age has stopped publishing them. But this is the way she discovers all good things, like Timothy Bottoms and Maggie Smith holidaying together in Spain for instance, in Love And Pain And The Whole Damn Thing.

  38. A girl says:

    Hi Kate. Thanks for writing so honestly and vividly about brothel life in Melbourne. A friend invited me to the Writing and Sexuality event at the City Library on Thursday. To be honest, I don’t think I had heard of you. I read a lot but I have only recently taken a serious interest in more contemporary writing.

    My friend gave me very quick run down of your bio and I wondered if we had ever crossed paths in the parlors. We are the same age. We never did – I’d have remembered you for sure. And I think I started my stint a little later than you did.

    I have always been loathe to pick up anything written about prostitution, fictional or not. Obviously I don’t have to list all the reasons here. I am not far into In My Skin, but I am feeling so much and I have not cringed once – excepted maybe in recognition.

    I wanted to ask you a question the other night but I become inarticulate when I am shy. In the end you answered it for me anyway. The secrecy and loneliness is what hurts most. I didn’t feel shame. I felt freed – for a while.

    Some people feel a terrible pull toward dark alleys and secrets. The price is so painful, sometimes damaging. But the rewards…

    Thank you for signing my book, Kate. All the best x

    • kate says:


      And thank you for the message and coming along to that Writing & Sexuality event, especially if you didn’t know who we were! You are lovely. And I’m like you, I don’t read books about sex work – mostly because they annoy me so much but also, I don’t know, I just don’t want to read them. So that’s just lovely that you have been reading mine. I was working in brothels from about, um (god, my memory for dates is shocking!) 1998-2001. We might not have crossed paths but perhaps crossed clients!

      Happy reading, and I hope you come along to something else. Do pipe up and say hi.



  39. John says:

    I read your article in the SMH today on the debate about drugs, addiction and the debate about criminality. Awesome work !

    • kate says:

      Hi John

      Thank you for the message about my drugs article in the SMH, much appreciated and sorry it took a while to reply. Hopefully the social tide will turn and drug addiction will be less a criminal activity and more a health issue. Thanks again for writing!



  40. Dave says:

    Hi kate,

    Just a quick note to say i thought your article in The Age online (May 25) was searingly honest and open. It was refreshing to hear a more realistic opinion regarding lagalising drugs than the knee-jerk individuals who reject the concept without consideration. Your measured article would have a few of the “legalise” people thinking tonight and can hopefully lead to more constructive discussion.

    Now, im off to find your book 🙂

    • kate says:

      Hi Dave,

      How sweet, thank you for the support, I was really pleased by all the response online to my drugs article. I’ve spent much of the past seven years talking in public about drug use and I do feel that most people are sympathetic, once things are explained a little. But I appreciate getting messages like yours – and sorry it took a while to answer.



  41. John says:

    You’ll be deported for bagging ‘My Brother Jack’! That’s utterly un-australian, or, as Julia would have it, un-osstrayleanne. In fact it’s so un-australian it might even be, perversely, uber- australian. (if using a German word to quantify the degree of ‘australian-ness’ is allowed?)
    I haven’t read your books- I was just st*lking your website, as one does when one is countign the days ’til my resignation date arrives – but know that I should, along with several hundred others that are sacrificed to the limitations of my lamentable 10-pages-per-night-then-fall-asleep routine.


    • kate says:

      Hi John

      I know, I’m un-Australian! What’s worse is that a relative of mine, Garry Kinnane, wrote the only biography of George Johnston and so Johnston is practically family property. I spose it wasn’t so bad, it was just that I reached that all-too-familiar realization that if I put the book down halfway through and never, ever picked it up again my life would be diminished NOT ONE JOT. I was so disappointed! If I find contemporary Australian literature so persistently pretentious I was really hoping the older stuff would be better.

      Always glad to have a site stalker, and I hope the resignation date was a happy, bright, and tremendously rambunctious day. Happy reading!

      Cheers, Kate

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