Kate Rossmanith studied people for a living, and thought she understood human nature well. But in the wake of her daughter’s birth, the vulnerability and intensity of parenthood took her completely by surprise. Faced with a debilitating insomnia, she spent hours awake reflecting on her own upbringing and the unwelcome role remorse can play in even the most devoted parents’ lives.
Increasingly fascinated with the concept of remorse, she was drawn to the criminal courts, observing case after case. She talked to criminals, lawyers and judges alike, trying to answer the fundamental question: how can you know whether a person is ever truly sorry?
But it soon became clear the project was creating seismic shifts in Kate’s own life. The more she learnt, the more she saw how her relationship with her father, who for many years was a distant and often angry man, was steeped in remorse. The more she learnt, the more she saw the faultlines in her marriage, widening under the strains of parenthood. And ever present was a family history sketched across war-torn Europe, with the seeds of heartache taking root in Australia.
About the Author
Kate Rossmanith is an author and an essayist, her nonfiction appearing in The Monthly, The Australian, and Best Australian Essays. In 2013, her essay ‘The Work of Judges’ was nominated for a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, and in 2018 her short documentary Unnatural Deaths was published by The Guardian as part of a series exploring archives on film. She lives in Sydney and lectures at Macquarie University.
'A sincere and delicate inquiry that moves with grace between public and private pain.' – Helen Garner
'Small Wrongs is memoir-writing at its best' – Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum
'I love this book. Rossmanith does everything I want a nonfiction writer to do. She asks an important question, thinks with clarity and urgency on the page, and transforms that thinking into a gripping, emotional, human story. Small Wrongs is dazzling.' - Claire Dederer, author of the New York Times bestseller Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses