by Kim Kelly

Millthorpe pop up flowers



Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So, Kate, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your storytelling explorations?

Most of my books are set long, long ago, in countries far, far away, and so they are not very Australian at all! My collection of feminist fairy-tale retellings, Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women, features Russian, Scottish, English, French, Norwegian and German stories from the 18th and 19th centuries.

If you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

A story set in the past, filled with drama and romance and struggle and triumph.

Please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a collection of old, almost VASILISA THE WISE AND OTHER TALES OF BRAVE YOUNG WOMEN v2 (1)forgotten fairy-tales, retold by me and gorgeously illustrated by Lorena Carrington, that feature strong, clever heroines.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

I love the story of my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Waring Atkinson, who wrote the first children’s book published in Australia. Her life was just fascinating, and a true glimpse into the early days of the colonies.

Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

I look across my garden to Sydney Harbour and the ocean. It’s a glorious day and the water looks very inviting!

If you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

Setting it in a small country town with a long and enthralling history.

That was exhausting, wasn’t it? Time for a cup of tea. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

Champagne and caviar for me! And I’d invite Patricia Wrightson whose books meant so much to me as a child.

Well, cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Kate.

kate forsyth

Find out more about Kate Forsyth here