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Open Right

Kate Holden

Author, Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Speaking Out

Kate Holden is the author of the best-selling In My Skin and a columnist for The Age. She speaks frankly and movingly of her time as a heroin addict and sex worker, talks of personal dignity and survival, and also speaks about her writing career as a memoirist and freelancer.

What other jobs have you had?

I have the traditional unusual writer’s resume: a cake-shop assistant, a bookseller, a proofreader, an envelope stuffer, a sex worker and a writer.

What themes are recurring in your work?

My work centres around my fascination with young women’s identity and romantic life, both sexual and emotional, using my own experiences as a starting point. I also write about history and the way the past casts a light on the present, a kind of troubled nostalgia.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Many of them have come from public speaking events: for example, in 2007 I gave a talk to young girls in a juvenile detention facility in San Francisco. I also got a six-month residency in Rome, which was amazing.

Where have your works been published?

My fortnightly column appears in The Age and I have also written for The Australian, The Monthly, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Book Review, Time Out and Cleo, among others, and short stories have been published in several anthologies including Some Girls Do and Thanks For the Mammaries.

What are you passionate about?

I feel strongly about representing the experience of addicts and sex workers, explaining that they are not ‘other’ but ‘us’, and talking to young women about their romantic experiences. I am passionate about kindness.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am too cautious to ride a bike, a motorbike or a car, so I am an expert on enjoying slow tram rides and walking quiet side streets.


Kate was generous and engaging and she drew a crowd that usually don’t attend our events (and possibly not Public Libraries). Audience feedback was extremely positive and I think that they really appreciated her candour, and found what she had to say about her writing very interesting. I would not hesitate in booking her again and look forward to her reading her next book (whatever form it takes).

—K. Dobby, Adult Services Librarian, City of Boroondara, Kew Library, March 2012

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