Telling Tales

A passion for books and a kinship with the Australian bush have helped shape Kate Mildenhall as an author. Penny Harrison visits her Hurstbridge home and studio

The treetop scene through Kate Mildenhall’s studio window is picture perfect, but it’s hard to imagine the Hurstbridge author ever has time to enjoy it. A mother of two young girls, Grace and Etta, Kate is deep into work on her third novel. Plus, there’s an ever-growing pile of books to plough through and authors to interview for the podcast she co-hosts – The First Time – about the first time you publish a book. Then, there are the multiple teaching gigs and the events she is often asked to host. She’s also just begun work on her PhD. Nonetheless, Kate says she always finds time to soak up the beauty of the Australian bush. “It’s essential for me,” she says. “I always feel regenerated by my time in the bush or by the sea.”

It could have something to do with her childhood, growing up in Research and the Bend of Islands. Kate was 10 when she and her sister, Maggie, moved with their parents to the environmental living zone. The family lived in a shed while they built their mudbrick house, but the 2.5ha block on the banks of the Yarra River was an instant source of wonder. “We just thought it was magical,” Kate recalls. “I would take my notebook and my pens and books, and I would sit under the trees and write lots of terrible poetry about the bush.”


To read the full article, pick up a copy of #49 Autumn 2022 here