Kate Holden’s account of the changes that pursued her as a person and a writer following overnight literary success was fascinating as she spoke at the December Memoir Salon. At the outset of composing ‘In My Skin’, she wrote so candidly and instinctively about her life as a drug user and a sex worker, about things for which she could be publicly condemned and viciously denounced, without heed for any publishing actuality. In her words, she wrote for herself. She was utterly unconstrained.

I was captured by her quiet, gentle speech, her unassuming manner and her honesty. Her migration from unknown to esteemed writer did not seem to have ignited any pretension or conceit. But as she told, she could never return to the place of unrestraint, of complete freedom to write what came, once she was a name. She became a professional writer, at the cost of the beginner’s indulgence and uninhibitedness that shot her to notoriety.

I had not considered the fact that you have to hang on to the story, your story, when the publicity hits. You have to combat the desire of others to feed the human yearning for salaciousness by sensationalising and inflating aspects of the story beyond reality. Such valuable insights. Thank you Kate. And thank you Josi for bringing The Memoir Salon to us.