Kate James is a Melbourne, Australia–based freelance editor with 25 years of professional editing, proofreading, writing and project-management experience. A self-starter with strong organisational ability, creative talent and communication skills across a range of digital and print media, she meets tight deadlines while retaining high standards.
Kate has worked on a range of fiction and nonfiction titles for clients including Harper Collins (Harlequin Books Australia, Escape Publishing), Images Publishing, Hardie Grant and Lonely Planet. She also offers structural editing, copyediting, proofreading and fact-checking services to private clients who wish to self-publish.
Hardie Grant, 2012
Still wrestling with her own experience of growing up in India as the child of Australian missionaries, Kate James is haunted by the story of murdered compatriot Graham Staines. Along with his two young sons, the manager of the mission at Baripada (who helped establish the Mayurbhanj Leprosy Home) was burned alive by Hindu fundamentalists in Orissa while asleep in his car. In search of the man behind the 1999 headlines – and the context behind the conflict in a country known for its religious tolerance – Kate returns to the subcontinent where she grew up. She travels from the hill station of Ooty to Darjeeling via the steamy Coramandel Coast, visiting Catholic shrines, an atheist ashram, a temple to Hindu missionaries and the Kolkata slums, as well as Staines’s Home and her own childhood school. Part detective story, part personal journey, Kate’s engrossing reportage explores India’s complex tapestry of religion and mysticism, assessing its Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist heritage as she comes to terms with the faith she has rejected.
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Pluto Press, 2006
Armed with a copy of Monkey and a Mandarin phrasebook and with a craving for skewered lamb, Australian writer Kate James travelled across the deserts of northwest China in the footsteps of three early-20th-century Christian missionary women and their adopted daughter.
Kate had became drawn to the writings of three extraordinary women, Mildred Cable and the sisters Eva and Francesca French, who spent most of their lives in China, adopted a deaf Mongolian daughter called Topsy and braved sandstorms and warlords to cross the barren Gobi desert on a Bible-laden donkey cart five times between 1923 and 1936.
Tired of aimless travel and the backpacker scene, Kate decided to follow the Trio through the sands, from their girls school in central China along the Silk Road into Central Asia, the monasteries of Tibet and into China’s Muslim provinces.
Along the way she met a young Living Buddha who liked to draw cars, ate yak hot-pot, was groped by a monk, went briefly mad with altitude sickness, breathed in too much second-hand cigarette smoke and watched China knocking down its historic neighbourhoods and brushing up on its English skills in preparation for the Olympic Games.
Throughout the journey the lapsed evangelical was surprised at how much she drew inspiration from the three women missionaries of last century. She also discovered something amazing in following their footsteps: religion was now thriving in China. Their legacy was alive in spite of nearly sixty years of communism. Like socialism, it had taken on Chinese characteristics.