AustLit logo
Kathleen Stewart Kathleen Stewart i(A10616 works by)
Born: Established: 1958 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


After completing her secondary education, Kathleen Stewart studied architecture for one year, but abandoned the course in order to pursue music and writing. For a time, she studied singing and acting, and wrote music and song lyrics. Stewart had wanted to become an opera singer and learnt German to sing German operas. She was also the lead singer with a band called Upside Down House that toured the east coast of Australia in the 1980s. While living in London, Paris and Berlin, Stewart decided to focus solely on writing. She returned to Australia in 1988 and took up residence on the NSW south coast, later moving to Melbourne.

After a long period in Melbourne's inner suburbs, Stewart moved to Bondi, Sydney and has since lived in Tempe, an inner suburb of Sydney. Melissa Fyfe observes: 'Her work may make you heavy of heart but, in person, Stewart is herself a breath of fresh air. She is calm and thoughtful, gothic and witchy, but also hippy and earthy. She has long, jet black hair and matching jet eyelashes and on the day we meet her toe nails are painted green. Some time later, when I see her walking in the street, she wears the same color green, this time on her tights.' In 1996 she was awarded a Literature Board fellowship for one year. Stewart's novels and poetry have attracted nominations for major Australian literary awards.

(Source: Melissa Fyfe, 'Into the Depths', The Sunday Age (28 October 2001): 10).

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon The After Life : A Memoir North Sydney : Vintage Books , 2008 Z1457165 2008 single work autobiography The After Life is '[c]entred on the author's experiences in her last year at school, which included drug addiction, a feverish love affair, a suicide attempt, and a mysteriously calm interlude in a psychiatric hospital, it also reaches both back and forward in an attempt to come to terms with her father's successful suicide and with the presence of her brilliant, charismatic and utterly self-absorbed mother.' (Publisher's blurb)
2009 shortlisted Kibble Literary Awards Nita Kibble Literary Award
y separately published work icon Spilt Milk Port Melbourne : Minerva , 1995 Z245990 1995 single work novel The marriage of Mr and Mrs Manilla has broken down. Joe Manilla walks out on his young wife, Sylvia. Sylvia walks out on their baby. A disturbing and hard-edged portrait of a contemporary crisis and a confronting exploration of men's and women's lives. Kathleen Stewart brings us into a world that is shocking, with a gaze that is unflinching yet compassionate.' (Publisher's blurb, back cover).
1995 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
y separately published work icon Snow Port Melbourne : Heinemann , 1994 Z129600 1994 selected work poetry
1994 shortlisted NBC Banjo Awards NBC Turnbull Fox Phillips Poetry Prize
1994 shortlisted The Age Book of the Year Award Dinny O'Hearn Poetry Prize
Last amended 14 Oct 2008 11:38:03
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: