Born in the Netherlands in January 1947, just after WWII in the south-western province of Zeeland, Elisabeth’s family name is de Rijke-Nassau, one of the branches of the Nassaus sharing the common ancestry of Charlemagne and Willem and Juliana de Rijke. The de Rijkes, and their identification as part of the fabric of Middelburg and the island of Walcheren, can be traced back to the thirteenth century.
Elisabeth came to Australia with her parents in 1959. She was educated at MacRobertson Girls’ High School (Melbourne), Monash University and the University of Melbourne. She had a long career in the Department of Defence. She lives with her husband in Goulburn, NSW.
Elisabeth is a poet and writer of short stories and reviews, and has been published in Best Australian Essays, Heat, Southerly, Island, The Monthly, Mattoid and Transnational. She won the inaugural ABR/Calibre prize for her essay “An die Nachgeborenen” the English translation is “For Those Who Come After”, which was published in the February 2007 issue of Australian Book Review and later broadcast on ABC radio.
“Zij die na ons komen” is the Dutch translation of the memoir and was published in 2011 by Picador in Sydney, Australia. The Dutch translation was done by Wybrand Scheffer and published by Contact in Amsterdam-Antwerp in 2011.
The memoir explores personal experiences and reflections on the author’s life and the lives of those who come after her. It delves into themes such as family, identity, and the intergenerational impact of personal histories. Through her memoir, Holdsworth provides insights into her own life and the broader societal changes and challenges that she and subsequent generations have encountered.
Apart from her writing, she is involved in arts patronage and is an active collector.