Louise Omer: Losing Their Religion | Melbourne Writers Festival

Louise Omer and Tom Tilley grew up in the Pentecostal church, but came to question their faith later in their lives while on very different journeys. See them in conversation with Adolfo Aranjuez about their captivating new memoirs, which recount their interrogation of long-held beliefs, breaking free and reinvention.

Omer’s Holy Woman blends feminist theology and travel writing to examine the nexus of patriarchy and modern religion; Tilley’s Speaking in Tongues pieces together a powerful coming-of-age story about building your true self.


Louise Omer is a writer born on Kaurna Country with essays, criticism, and poetry published in The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, The Lifted Brow, and more. Beyond Australia, she has lived in Scotland and Ireland, and has a heart connection to many lands, seas, and people.

Holy Woman

Louise Omer was a Pentecostal preacher and faithful wife. But when her marriage crumbled, so did her beliefs.

Haunted by questions about what it means to be female in a religion that worships a male God, she left behind a church and home to ask women around the world: how can we exist in patriarchal religion? And can a woman be holy?

With $500 in her pocket and the conviction that she was following a divine path, Louise began a pilgrimage that has taken her to Mexican basilicas, Swedish cathedrals, Bulgarian mountains, and Moroccan mosques. Holy Woman combines travel writing, feminist theology, and…

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Louise Omer

Louise Omer is a writer born on Kaurna Country with essays, criticism,…

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Holy Woman

Louise Omer

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