Paperback: 228 pages

Publisher: Eye Books (14 July 2016)

ISBN-13: 978-1785630194

Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm

The Mind Thief

Maria Katsonis


An excellent read. Had tears in my eyes.

(5* Amazon review)

This is the powerful and moving true-life story of a high-flying Harvard graduate who fought a terrifying battle against depression and psychosis. The Mind Thief will make you laugh, cry, gasp and smile. Written with elegance and honesty, it is a harrowing account of a complete mental breakdown, but is ultimately uplifting.


“In the space of five years, I went from graduating at Harvard to becoming a psychiatric patient. I overcame the stranglehold of depression and chose not to die. Instead, I embraced life only to discover I am a good Greek girl at heart, albeit an unconventional one.”



“In the space of five years, I went from graduating at Harvard to becoming a psychiatric patient. I overcame the stranglehold of depression and chose not to die. Instead, I embraced life only to discover I am a good Greek girl at heart, albeit an unconventional one.”


"I am a good Greek girl, just an unconventional one," says Maria Katsonis. After reading The Mind Thief it is plain to see how this sentence becomes charged with defiance, modernity, and truth.

“The subtitle of The Mind Thief, ‘from the highs of Harvard to the lows of the psych ward’, says it all: this is a brave memoir from a woman who has experienced success in her professional and academic career, but also the torment of mental illness.” – Annie Condon, Australia’s “Readings”, (winner of London Book Fair’s International Bookstore of the Year 2016)


An excellent read. Had tears in my eyes.

(5* Amazon review)

Absorbing, well-written memoir. I didn't laugh, cry, or gasp (as predicted by the blurb) but I smiled in recognition, frowned, empathised, and cared a lot about Maria and her friends and family. I was struck by how similar and also how different Maria's story and mine are. We're about the same age, Australian, have both been carers for our mothers after they had a stroke, both did mid-life study, both experienced major depression. but we are different in many other ways... I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the common yet misunderstood experience of mental illness - it's different for everyone, even with the same diagnosis, but some things are universal. I want to give this book to many of my friends, family, and former colleagues. And to write my own memoir.

(5* GoodReads review)

A fascinating story of overcoming so many challenges - after reading this very well written story I feel I have learnt so much about the challenge of going thru mental illness (although I started from a very ignorant position), and the challenges faced by children who live very different lives to their traditional parents, but still feel the strong pull of family and duty. An ultimately uplifting story but hard going at times as Maria confronts tough times. Fantastic and brave book. Definitely going to recommend it for my all-male book club.

(5* GoodReads review)

Intelligently written, raw and emotionally honest. Maria Katsonis' memoir breaks the stigma of mental illness and the suppression that surrounds it, especially in multicultural backgrounds, in her case, Greek. That she has survived the many highs and lows in her life, bears testament that her story is one that needed to be told to help not only those with mental illness, but those from traditional backgrounds that follow an unconventional path in life.

(5* GoodReads review)

A very readable book. I read this on the recommendation of a friend saying it was a great example of a well written memoir. And it was. Maria Katsonis takes you to the deeps of her depression and back again. She is an exceptionally talented writer.

(5* GoodReads review)

There is a certain time of life that all of us face when this book will hit home. We all know someone who has been through bouts of depression. They can be mild enough to be eased by a hug, a good long chat, or more formal therapy, or they could be severe. For an insight into the mind of someone going through just about the severest depression imaginable, this book offers a no-holes-barred account, from someone who has been through it and - just - come out the other side.

Maria Katsonis writes with disarming candour. Witty, intelligent, humble, matter of fact, at times humorous, this book invites you into a troubled mind, and then thanks you for being there. It is not necessarily an easy read, but how many worthwhile things in life are easy?

(5* review on Goodreads)


In defence of 2016

Maria Katsonis

"Are you joining the movement to abolish 2016?” asked Eye Books.

Absolutely not is my reply! While there were tectonic geo-political shifts that fractured and polarised, at a personal level, my experience of 2016 was the complete opposite. It was a year of consolidation and more so, a year with deep personal significance that affirmed and heartened. As an Antipodean author, my first book was published internationally in the UK, courtesy of Eye Books. In Australia, I saw the publication of my second book, an anthology I co-edited featuring true stories of defiance and rebellion from prominent Australian female writers. Professionally, I was acknowledged as one of 100 Australian Women of Influence.

But my most significant achievement is personal. As someone who lives with a mental illness, I made it through another year and did not succumb to the lure of the black dog of depression. My experience of illness has taught me that I cannot take my health for granted. My psychiatrist describes my depression as being in remission. After sustained periods of wellness, I forget about the remission until I hit a road bump and my mood is jolted, my recovery threatened, the black dog ready to pounce.  I weathered the bumps and jolts in 2016 and I am still standing, ready to see in another year.



Maria Katsonis

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

NB The Good Greek Girl is the title of the Australian version of The Mind Thief

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