What do you think the role of the writer is today?
As the American poet Muriel Rukeyser said, ‘The universe is made of stories, not atoms.’ Our labour as writers, as storytellers, is so crucial now, more than ever, because we need to reimagine possibilities for our world and for ourselves. We also need to reimagine the past, the stories that have been erased. We need to make meaning afresh out of the ‘rag and bone’ conditions we are negotiating together on our fragile planet.
Can you name some authors who inspire you in the way they craft short stories?
I love the work of Kuzhali Manickavel, Lydia Davis, Carmen Maria Machado, and Alice Munro, among many others, because of the way they play with the form of the short story, making meaning and creating coherence not through a heavy reliance on plot but by kneading other elements through a story to make it an enchanting and luminous experience for us as readers.
In my upcoming course, we will discuss ways in which stories are held together and see if we can find new ‘glue’ to create coherence on the page. We’ll think through the building blocks of short stories, questioning what makes them leap off the page in a way that is enchanting to the reader.
Writing NSW is also excited to have Roanna on board as a mentor for the 2022 Mentoring Program for Emerging Writers from Diverse Backgrounds. Up to six emerging writers from Indigenous or culturally diverse backgrounds will be given the opportunity to work on a short piece of fiction or non-fiction under Roanna’s guidance and with support from Writing NSW. Find out more.
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