Skip to primary navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to secondary content | Skip to footer
This page is part of the 2010 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE.
Visit the current Melbourne Writers Festival website for details of the next festival.

Kate Howarth

Kate Howarth
Kate Howarth was born in Sydney in 1950.

Abandoned by her mother as a baby, she was shunted between relatives from the slums of Darlington to Sydney’s western suburbs and rural New South Wales, where – as a light-skinned Aboriginal girl – she witnessed the injustices of segregation which had a profound impact on her life.

At age 14, she was taken out of school due to hardship. At age 16, Kate had a baby in a home for unmarried mothers and refused to relinquish the child for adoption. By the time she was 32, she had achieved success beyond anyone’s imagining, having been instrumental in building a company, Manpower Personnel, which became a leader in its field.

At age 49, a fall from a train left Kate housebound and facing one of the bleakest periods in a life. She started writing her memoir, Ten Hail Marys, which vividly recounts the first 17 years of her life beset by hardship, poverty and abuse. In this book, she also challenges evidence taken at a Parliamentary Inquiry into Adoption Practices in NSW 1950-1998 that ran from 1998 to 2000.

Ten Hail Marys was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (David Uniapon Award) 2008 and published in 2010. Kate lives in Katoomba and is currently working on the sequel to Ten Hail Marys.