Short stories

I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to write several short stories for publication. I don’t get much time or attention to spend on short fiction but I do really enjoy writing it and hope to do more in the future.

This is a story I wrote in 2004 and which was published in 2020! Goes to show you never know your luck. The Saturday Paper changed their ‘Portrait’ page of nonfiction, to which I regularly contributed, to a short story page, and asked if I would like to write a story. This one was ready, and the perfect length as well. I’ve always been proud of this story, as it was written in a kind of a dream, as if I had almost nothing, personally, to do with it. The Guaia, The Saturday Paper, August 2020.

‘The Sightseers’, in Readings and Writings, an anthology to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Readings Bookshop in Melbourne. One review selected my story as a highlight of the collection (which also features Christos Tsiolkas, Paddy O’Reilly, Steven Amsterdam, Cate Kennedy and Alex Miller among others) and said, Kate Holden’s ‘The Sightseers’ rivalled ‘The Age of Terror’ for my vote. A father takes his wife and daughter around Rome in the role of pushy guide, until he unwisely steps off the tourist path. The writing evokes Katherine Mansfield (although much darker) for the way it tracks minutely the shifting sympathies of the characters, and builds small but telling detail toward a shocking conclusion which is nonetheless inevitable when you search back through for clues. An object lesson in clever, subtle and brilliant writing. (Tom Conyer on the LiteraryMinded blog)

‘Incunabula’, in the Sleepers Almanac 2007. Kate Holden’s Incunabula begins with a dream, and the lyrical, dreamlike quality of the prose carries the narrative through to a grim conclusion. (Petra Fromm in The Short Review)

‘Under Wraps’, in Thanks For the Mammaries, an anthology published by Penguin to raise funds for breast cancer research. A dark little tale of a young man in 1930s Paris and the woman he meets in a brothel.

‘Thornbinding’, a fable of heroin addiction in Falling From the Sky, an anthology published in the US by Another Sky Press, 2007.

Don Quixote in Shanghai‘, a memoir-story in Griffith Review Annual Fiction edition 2010, described by Patrick Allington on his blog as “tense and taut”; The Jumbuck is Almost Extinct blog by Sam Cooney said, “Kate Holden’s memoir ‘Don Quixote in Shanghai’ is vivid and heartfelt in its snapshottish depiction of that notorious Chinese city.”

Not a short story, and not published, but my one-act play ‘Waiting it Out’ for Melburnalia commissioned and performed by White Whale, had the following review: “Waiting It Out is her first work for the stage. She portrays the feel of lost bohemian St Kilda beautifully. It was almost like having a cappuccino and spanikopita in The Galleon – before the new owners. However, what is irresistible in a novel, doesn’t always work on a stage. With some work on dialogue and creating action, I’m sure Holden will create some unforgettable theatre in the future.” Anne-Marie Peard

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