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Kate Mildenhall is a writer and educator who has worked in schools, at the State Library of Victoria and has volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia. Her debut novel, Skylarking, based on the true story of best friends growing up on a remote Cape in 1880s Australia, was published in 2016.
I was born in Melbourne, and now live about 10 minutes from where I grew up. I married a boy from my high school and I’m still best mates with the girl I played netball with in Grade 3, and the girl I sat next to in Year 7. I do leave the country occasionally for adventures, but have roots firmly in the soil of Melbourne’s North East Fringe.
My very first job was as a fairy for kid’s parties, but I only lasted one day – the big fairy didn’t like the way I made the fairy bread. I’ve been a dance teacher, a bar girl on a Greek Island and I’ve terrified my Year 8 students telling ghost stories on a camp to Wilson’s Prom.
Well, I’ve only got one novel under my belt so far, but in my next project, and in the short fiction I write, I’m preoccupied with some of the big feels – guilt and desire and jealousy, along with the ideas of truth and memory. I’ll also admit to an obsession with the Australian coastline.
On the night I launched Skylarking, I signed a copy of my book for my Year 8 English teacher, and also signed a copy for a girl to whom I had taught Year 8 English. It was a pretty special moment – not star studded – but it made me feel like I had arrived in the place I was meant to be.
Skylarking has been published in Australia and will be published in the UK in 2017, which is enormously exciting. I’ve also written for Sunday Life, and for Killings – the Kill Your Darlings blog.
Books. Writing. Education. Justice and equality for all people, whoever they are and wherever they come from.
If you weren’t at that first failed fairy party, you might have seen me more recently, at Writers Festivals in Byron Bay, Bendigo and Melbourne in 2016.
You can also find me chatting on podcasts such as On Writing with Joshua Pomare and Unladylike in conversation with Hannah Kent.
We loved having Kate Mildenhall visit our school. Kate conducted writing workshops with our four Year 8 classes. She also gave them helpful insights into her novel “Skylarking” which the students have just begun to study in English classes.
Kate was very professional and easy to get along with. She seemed to enjoy the students’ responses and ideas. She was generous with her time and her encouragement to budding writers. The students responded very well to her presentation.