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Kate Mildenhall

Author, Curriculum Specialist, Education Consultant, Podcaster

Kate Mildenhall is an author, writing teacher and podcaster. Her debut novel SKYLARKING was longlisted for Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017 and the 2017 Voss Literary Award. Her second novel, THE MOTHER FAULT was longlisted for the 2021 ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year and shortlisted for the 2021 Aurealis Science Fiction Novel of the Year. Her latest novel is THE HUMMINGBIRD EFFECT (2023), shortlisted for the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year and longlisted for the Stella Prize and the Indie Book Awards Fiction, 2024.

Kate has been the recipient of residencies at Varuna, the Writers House, Bundanon Trust and the Michael King Writers Centre in Aotearoa. She is a regular guest at writers festivals and in 2023 was runner up in the Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship for work on her fourth novel.

For the past six years Kate has co-hosted The First Time Podcast where she has spoken with over 200 Australian and international writers including George Saunders, Behrouz Boochani, Helen Garner, Sarah Winman, Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan and Charlotte Wood. Kate is highly regarded as a festival moderator and speaker and has been a guest at many Australian and International Writers Festivals.

Kate is currently undertaking a PhD in creative practice at RMIT University. Her first picture book will be released in 2024. Kate lives in Hurstbridge on Wurundjeri lands, with her partner and two children.

Where were you born?

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.

What other jobs have you had?

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.

What themes are recurring in your work?

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.

What have the highlights of your career been?

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.

Where have your works been published?

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.

What are you passionate about?

Books. Writing. Education. Justice and equality for all people, whoever they are and wherever they come from.

Haven’t I seen you before?

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.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

You can also find me chatting on podcasts such as On Writing with Joshua Pomare and Unladylike in conversation with Hannah Kent.



Kate Midenhall was extremely engaging and had an excellent manner with the students. She has enabled the students to develop their plot effectively and incorporated effective strategies to develop expressive writing into her sessions.

The strategies that she used were relevant and engaging and the students thoroughly enjoyed each writing session. Kate even had the reluctant writers writing! By the end of session five I felt that the students were in a perfect position to begin writing their narratives.

I would highly recommend Kate Midenhall for the future.

—Anna Francis, Xavier College, 2018

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.

—J.Toole, Newhave College, August 2017

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