by Kate Mildenhall Read profile


Published on 3rd July 2017

Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community.

When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail’s hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart.

Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a spellbinding tale of friendship and desire, memory and truth, which questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.

Longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 


Kate Mildenhall’s impressive debut novel is filled with the light and air of its rugged coastal setting. The elemental force of this place provides the perfect backdrop for Mildenhall’s powerful evocation of a passionate, intense relationship between two young women just before the turn of the twentieth century. Mildenhall takes this historical case and re-imagines it with such sensitivity and insight that we feel this must be how it truly happened.  
– Emily Bitto

Skylarking is a strikingly real and deeply moving meditation on adolescent friendship in all its complexities, faithfully rendering both teenage envy and the depths of love between two girls.  The bush comes alive; one can almost hear the sound of the crickets on a hot evening. But above all, it is a heart-wrenching work. 
– Olga Lorenzo

Skylarking is a brave, beautiful and richly textured book which delicately explores the fault lines in love and friendship, revealing their thrill and loveliness as well as their darker sides: jealousy and heartbreaking regret.
– Lucy Treloar