Katherine Howell

Katherine-HowellKatherine Howell was born and raised in Sydney. After leaving school she worked in various jobs, including as an animal handler and bookshop sales assistant, and went to university for a year to study science. Keen for something different she then joined the ambulance service, and spent the next fifteen years working on the road in various parts of NSW.  She also studied for her BA and MPhil degrees, both in Creative Writing.

During that time she wrote four novel manuscripts. She says ‘the first three are stashed in a cupboard, never to see the light of day again. But they each taught me a lot, and from those lessons I was able to write the fourth, which later developed into her first published novel, Frantic.

When Katherine first sent a draft of the book to her agent, however, it came back with the message that it didn’t work because it had no suspense. ‘I decided I would study the subject for my Masters then apply everything I learned to the rewriting of the novel.’

It worked: when she sent it back to Selwa, it quickly sold as part of a two-book deal to Pan Macmillan then overseas as well. The book was published in Australia in 2007 and has since been released in eleven countries in six languages. Katherine now rereads her thesis each time she starts a new book to remind herself of the techniques of developing suspense in fiction. She also teaches workshops in the subject.

Her second book, The Darkest Hour, continued the story line of the first. The third in the series, Cold Justice, made the Australian bestseller list, saw Katherine travelling on a P&O cruise as guest author, and was described by NYT bestselling author Tess Gerritsen as ‘one of my favourite books of the year’.

Frantic had won the 2008 Davitt award for best crime fiction. When Cold Justice also won the 2011 Davitt award for best crime fiction, Katherine became the only author to have won this award twice.

Her fourth book, Violent Exposure, was described by Bookseller & Publisher as ‘arguably her best yet – four stars’, while the fifth, Silent Fear, was chosen as a ‘Guaranteed Book You Can’t Put Down’ by the national Get Reading! programme.

Katherine’s books are published in multiple countries and languages and have been likened to the work of Karin Slaughter and Patricia Cornwell. Katherine teaches writing and editing, and she lives in Queensland with her partner, who owns a bookshop.


Published Works

  • Frantic
  • The Darkest Hour
  • Cold Justice
  • Violent Exposure
  • Silent Fear
  • Web Of Deceit
  • Deserving Death
  • Tell the Truth
  • Web of Deceit

This year Katherine Howell is being sponsored by Arts Queensland