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


A tale of breakdown and recovery

‘An intelligent and loving memoir of depression’ – The Age

Maria Katsonis enjoyed a traditional Greek childhood as the daughter of European immigrants to Australia, living on top of a milk bar and sharing a bedroom with her grandmother. 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.

Furthering her studies later in life, she attended Harvard and left with a Masters in Public Administration. Little did she know that, in five years' time, she would be alone on a bed in a psychiatric ward fighting for her life.

This is the powerful and moving true-life story of a high-flier 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 but ultimately uplifting account.

The Mind Thief was first published in Australia as The Good Greek Girl.


“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.”




“A keenly observed and unflinching memoir… It’s a stunning book. I found it compelling and so lucidly written”

Jon Faine, ABC 774 Melbourne


“Katsonis pulls no punches... The hospital chapters are written with the Greek flair for tragi-comedy, the bleakness buffered by moments of mirth and buffoonery”

Sydney Morning Herald

“An intelligent and loving memoir of depression”

The Age

“The value in this text is the explicit detailing of daily life in the psych ward, in suffering depression, and in the path to recovery”


“A raw, unflinching and sorely needed portrait of mental illness. Maria’s story is honest, touching, and incredibly readable”

Her Canberra

“An intimate portrayal of mental illness that will move readers to laugh, cry, gasp and smile. Maria Katsonis’ story of triumph over adversity is nothing short of inspiring”

LOTL magazine

“The quality of Katsonis’ writing is superb. She demonstrates a playful sense of humour despite the gravity of her topic. 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”



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 in Melbourne in 1956. She was a good Greek girl until university, when she discovered her rebellious side and abandoned her nearly completed economics degree for a career in the theatre. 

She managed a number of theatre companies, toured as a producer, and became an arts management consultant. After a decade in the arts, she made a career change and joined the civil service in the state of Victoria. She has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and is now a senior executive in the Australian Public Service.

In 2008, she experienced a severe episode of depression and was hospitalised for more than a month. She has become a vocal advocate for mental health. 

She lives in Melbourne. Read more about Maria at

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