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Kate Forsyth Kate Forsyth i(A30634 works by)
Also writes as: Kate Humphrey
Born: Established: 1966 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Scottish
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Kate Forsyth completed a BA in Literature at Macquarie University and an MA in Writing at the University of Western Sydney, and a PhD at the University of Sydney. After completing her BA, she worked as a journalist while studying and writing.

Forsyth published her first novel in 1997: Dragonclaw, the first in the the six-part The Witches of Eileanan series.

Forsyth was president of the Poets' Union for two years and has had poetry (under the name Kate Humphrey) published in Australia, Denmark and the USA. These works were part of the new burgeoning of Australian fantasy in the 1990s, led by authors such as Sara Douglass. Forsyth followed this with a trilogy, Rhiannon's Ride, set in the same world. She has also published a number of fantasy series for younger readers, including Chain of Charms, Ben and Tim's Magical Misadventures, The Chronicles of Estelliana, and The Impossible Quest.

In 2012, Forsyth published the first of what would prove to be a series of revisionist fairytales, exploring the core of a number of well-known and well-loved fairy tales and fairy-tale creators through the transposition to other time periods and milieus. Bitter Greens, the first such novel, was Forsyth's rewriting of Rapunzel and formed part of her PhD dissertation: her PhD exegesis, exploring her long-term attraction to the Rapunzel story, was later published by FableCroft Publishing as The Rebirth of Rapunzel : A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower. Bitter Greens was followed by The Wild Girl (the origins of the Grimm household tales), The Beast's Garden (Beauty and the Beast variants in Nazi Germany), and Beauty in Thorns (Sleeping Beauty and the women of the Pre-Raphaelite movement).

Most recently, she published a collection of short stories set around a single well, The Silver Well, co-authored with Kim Wilkins: the collection won the 2017 Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Forsyth's work has won numerous Aurealis Awards: she won both the Aurealis and the William Atheling Jr. Award for The Rebirth of Rapunzel, and was given an honourable mention at the 2013 Norma K. Hemming Awards for Bitter Greens.

In 2018, Forsyth and Sarah Mills launched Word of Mouth TV, a combination cooking and book-review show on YouTube. In June 2018, she announced a second collaboration with artist Lorena Carrington (with whom she produced Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women), the forthcoming collection The Buried Moon and Other Tales of Brave Young Women.

Forsyth is the sister of Belinda Murrell. They are direct descendants of Charlotte Barton.

Most Referenced Works


  • Voted number 37 in the Booktopia Top 50 Favourite Australian Authors for 2018

Personal Awards

2019 recipient State Library of New South Wales Fellowships Nancy Keesing Fellowship for her project: Charlotte Atkinson: Australia’s first children’s writer.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Searching for Charlotte: The Fascinating Story of Australia's First Children's Author Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2020 20791476 2020 single work biography

'For almost 140 years, the author of Australia’s first book for children was a mystery. Known only by the description ‘a Lady Long Resident in New South Wales’, she was the subject of much speculation. It was not until 1980, after a decade of sleuthing, that legendary bibliographer Marcie Muir gave her a name: Charlotte Waring Atkinson. And not only a name, but an extensive creative family history, connecting her to two of the nation’s celebrated contemporary children’s writers, Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell.

'To Forsyth and Murrell, Atkinson (also known as Barton) is great-great-great-great grandmother and the subject of the stories they grew up on—part of a thread of creative women that runs through the history of their family. Hers is one of the great lost stories of Australian history: a tale of love, grief, violence and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.

'After spending half her life educating the children of the well-to-do in England, in 1826, at 30 years of age, Charlotte Waring accepted a job on the other side of the world. She was to teach the children of Maria Macarthur, daughter of former New South Wales governor Philip Gidley King. But on the voyage, love diverted her to a different future: marriage to the eligible James Atkinson meant she spent just seven short months with her charges. What followed were years of hardship in the New South Wales bush, including the death of Atkinson and her subsequent marriage to an abusive drunk, a brutal attack by bushrangers, penury and the threat of having her children taken away.

'In Searching for Charlotte, Forsyth and Murrell tell Charlotte’s story along with that of their own journey to discover her. In an intriguing account, the sisters join the reader in reacting to Charlotte’s actions: wondering what could have motivated certain choices; admiring the strength of spirit that pushed Charlotte through turmoil in the Australian colonies; and reviling attitudes that were common to the mid-1800s but are abhorrent in the twentieth century.

'The extraordinary, long-buried life story of Australia’s earliest published children’s author, Searching for Charlotte combines elements of biography, recreation of history and rediscovery of family history. It is a sometimes confronting but ultimately heartwarming journey into the story of a family with writing in its blood.' (Publisher's abstract)

2022 commended SWW Book Awards Non Fiction
2021 longlisted Indie Awards Nonfiction
The Cunning Woman's Daughter 2017 single work short story fantasy
— Appears in: The Silver Well 2017; (p. 131-170)
2017 shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Fantasy Division Novella
My Sister's Ghost 2017 single work short story fantasy
— Appears in: The Silver Well 2017; (p. 69-100)
2018 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Novella or Novelette
Last amended 7 Aug 2019 16:40:50
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