Maria Katsonis is the daughter of Greek migrants who arrived at Station Pier, Port Melbourne in 1956. Her mother hailed from Athens and her father from Lidoriki, a small rural village near Delphi in central Greece. Maria's was a traditional Greek childhood, living on top of a milk bar and sharing a bedroom with her yiayia. She was a good Greek girl throughout high school until university when she discovered her rebellious side and abandoned nine-tenths of an economics degree for a career in the theatre.
Maria managed a number of theatre companies including Anthill, Theatreworks and Arena Theatre Company. She then became an independent arts management consultant and theatre producer, touring shows to Asia, Europe, and South America. After a decade in the arts, she decided it was time for a career change and became a bureaucrat, joining the Public Service in Victoria.
In 2008, Maria experienced a severe episode of depression and was hospitalised for over a month. She now lives with an ongoing mental illness and have become a vocal advocate for mental health. She is a Beyondblue Ambassador and a consumer advocate with Mental Health Australia.
In her day job, Maria is a senior executive in the Australian Public Service and also teaches policy design and implementation at the Melbourne School of Government, Melbourne University. She has a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She studied creative writing at the J M Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice and has spent two 'magical' residencies at Varuna, the Writers House in the Blue Mountains. Her writing has been published in The Age, The Guardian and New Paradigm.
Maria lives in Melbourne with her portly puss. In her spare time, she lifts weights, potters in the kitchen and hangs out with her nephews and niece. Not always in that order.
Read more about Maria at mariakatsonis.com.au
NB The Good Greek Girl is the title of the Australian version of The Mind Thief