Katy Kell is an award-winning Australian author for both teenagers and adult readers. She has a PhD in English and Creative Writing, and has talked her way into a smorgasbord of occupations including golf course attendant, handbag seller and manager of a regional environment centre. Her young adult novels Juice and Mama’s Trippin’ were published by Fremantle Press, and her short fiction and feature articles have appeared in anthologies, magazines and newspapers. She has recently completed a historical novel manuscript exploring the untold “female” history of the iconic French painting Chloe by Jules Joseph Lefebvre. Chloe has hung at Young and Jackson Hotel in Melbourne for more than a century, and is a much-loved cultural icon.
Katy’s research and writing projects have taken her on some incredible journeys, from walking in the footsteps of Chloe’s model through the cobbled streets of Montmartre, to the Somme region in Northern France, where she researched the experiences of Australian WW1 soldiers at sites in Amiens, Albert, Peronne and Villers Bretonneux.
An all-female battalion defended Place Blanche during the repression of the Paris Commune in 1871, a violent episode in modern French history when up to 30,000 Parisians were slaughtered by Versailles government troops during Semaine Sanglante (the Bloody Week). I explore the ramifications of this traumatic event in my PhD thesis “Capturing Chloe: Reimagining a Melbourne Icon.” I took this photograph on one of my research trips to Paris, as I was intrigued to discover this “Chloe” graffiti at a site with such significance to the young model who sat for Jules Lefebvre’s French painting.
Katy is also a passionate cockatoo photographer. Rain, hail or shine, she can often be spotted behind a bush with her camera at the ready. A perennial source of inspiration, cockatoos often appear in her stories, poems and even her painted artworks, especially Australian black cockatoos with their flamboyant crests and magnificent tail feathers, and those plaintive yodeling cries that send shivers down Katy’s backbone.