The Whole Intimate Mess

The Whole Intimate Mess

Motherhood, Politics, and Women's Writing

‘I began to pull the threads of my experience back together. Instead of divergent stories about public failure, private torment, and postnatal distress, I started telling myself a united story: the truth, or as close as I could get to it.’

A Rhodes scholar and former Green MP, Holly Walker tells the story of how she became one of New Zealand’s youngest parliamentarians, how motherhood intervened, and how she found solace and solidarity in the writings of women. This short book makes a passionate case for the role of literature in political change and personal resilience, and for the importance of women’s voices in the public sphere.

What are BWB Texts?

BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, new BWB Texts are released regularly, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.

All recently published BWB Texts can be purchased in print and digital formats using the ‘Buy’ or ‘Preorder’ buttons on this page. You can also subscribe to the series – a great gift idea! Find more information about subscription offers here.

For guidance on these purchase options please visit our Sales FAQs page or email us.

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Jun 2017
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9780947518912
DOI: 10.7810/9780947518912

Search inside


'The Whole Intimate Mess - Motherhood, Politics, and Women's Writing', Reading by Holly Walker, RNZ, 11 November 2018.

'A Writer’s Work Is Never Done', Holly Walker, Fixin' to Write, 24 August 2017.

'It's a huge deal to have babies in Parliament. Not talking serves no one', Holly Walker, Stuff, 2 August 2017.

'The Whole Intimate Mess – Holly Walker', Up Again with James Dann, RDU FM, 28 July 2017.

'Unacceptable Choices', Alison McCulloch, Scoop Review of Books, 14 July 2017.

'I am ok, and thanks for asking!', Susan Strongman interview with Holly Walker, The Wireless, 6 July 2017.

'Torn in two: Former Green MP Holly Walker discusses trading Parliament for motherhood', Michelle Duff, Stuff, 2 July 2017.

'A Private Face', Sunday TVNZ, 25 June 2017.

'The Unity Books best-selling chart for the week ending June 23', The Spinoff, 23 June 2017.

'Holly Walker: The Whole Intimate Mess', Simon Sweetman, Off the Tracks, 21 June 2017.

'Holly Walker - The Whole Intimate Mess', Kim Hill, RNZ, 17 June 2017.

'Holly Walker - The Whole Intimate Mess', Weekend Variety Wireless, Radio Live, 17 June 2017.

'Ex-MP says stress of baby, Parliament drove her to self-injury', New Zealand Herald, 16 June 2017.

'You can’t always get everything you want: Deborah Coddington reviews Holly Walker', Deborah Coddingham, The Spinoff, 15 June 2017.

'A brief history of feminist literature in New Zealand: Tessa Duder on her classic novel Alex', Tessa Duder, The Spinoff, 14 June 2017.

'Holly Walker and the books her kid is reading', The Sapling, 14 June 2017.

'‘I really admire that you have been open about mental health as a candidate’: Chlöe Swarbrick in conversation with Holly Walker', Chlöe Swarbrick and Holly Walker, The Spinoff, 13 June 2017.

'‘There is nothing normal about crawling up the hallway, screaming and hitting yourself in the head’: former Green MP Holly Walker shares her story', Holly Walker, The Spinoff, 12 June 2017.