THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS; Kathy Lette

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Australian Kathy Lette is the author of the best-selling books Puberty Blues, The Llama Parlour, Foetal Attraction and Mad Cows, which has been made into a film. Her latest book is Altar Ego.

I left school at 15 so the only examination I've ever passed is my smear test. Since then I've done everything from working as a bed- pan emptier to a kiss-o-gram girl. I wrote my first book, Puberty Blues, when I was 18, for my girlfriends. We were all with the sort of men who completely disprove the theory of evolution - they were evolving into apes! They talked about women as bushpigs, swamp-hogs or maggots. I wanted to impale these boys on the end of my pen.

Puberty Blues was such a big success that I went from obscurity to overnight notoriety - it was made into a film and became a massive phenomenon. After that I wrote plays books and sitcoms. It's ludicrous really - I left Australia when I was 29 yet I was still considered the youth expert. I'm practically a pom now. It was good to come to England and start again because nobody knew about me.

Meeting Spike Milligan when I was 16 was a lucky break for me - I adore him and he was incredibly inspiring. He read the first book and told me I had talent, and that gave me the courage to carry on.

I write the way women talk when there are no men around. There is a myth perpetuated by men that women aren't funny. I think they're terrified about what we're being funny about - usually them. In Australia I was surrounded by beautiful women with blonde hair and breasts that arrive five minutes before they do. There was me, a bonsai brunette whose bra cup did not runneth over. I had to develop other skills, which is why I learnt to verbally tap dance.

I write for revenge because poetic justice is the only justice. When you meet misogynist men or snooty women, to take your revenge with your pen is terribly satisfying. My books always have a vaguely feminist point because I do think it's a man's world. It's still so much harder for the girls than the boys.

LUCY WILLIAMS

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