Julia Hollander writes non-fiction that originates in the lived experience. She is also a singer and teacher. A love of words and music inspired her first career as an opera director. In 1990 she was the first ever woman to stage a show at English National Opera and went on to direct two more major productions with that company before branching out into freelance work that took her all over the world. During that period she wrote opera libretti, and her book and stage reviews appeared in Classical Music and Opera Now magazines. She later went on to create two radio dramas for the BBC: When the Bough Breaks and The Kingsnorth Six; and one docu-drama, The Letter.
For many years she worked regularly as a stage director and performer in India, leading to her first publication, Indian Folk Theatres (part of the Routledge series, Theatres of the World). She later went on to write two memoirs about family life, When the Bough Breaks (published by John Murray), and Chicken Coops for the Soul (for Guardian Books). Why We Sing (published by Atlantic in February 2023) explores the benefits of singing for everyday wellbeing, combining the latest scientific research with stories from her own and other singers’ lives.