Chloe Higgins, KSP's Emerging Writer in Residence for October 2016
Chloe Higgins will travel from NSW to Perth this October to participate as KSP’s final Emerging Writer-in-Residence for 2016. She will run the Vomit a Novella in 12 Hours workshop, host a Literary Dinner, offer a mentorship to a KSP-member, and provide author talks at KSP writing groups and the local library. For Chloe's full schedule of events, please see bottom of page. She can’t wait to do lots of reading, writing and self-editing as well.
What inspired you to take part in the KSP Writer-in-Residence program?
‘I can’t imagine a better gift for a writer than being given a month of space, solitude, and silence to focus on writing and reading. Although there are many outcome-focused opportunities available for writers; it seems rare to find such a unique opportunity where the priority is creative space and time so I’m incredibly thankful for that. Also, I’ve been hanging to visit Perth for a while now.’
What are your goals for the KSP Writer-in-Residence program? How will you know you have achieved this?
‘My goal is to begin thinking more deeply about how to edit my own work; so I’m really looking forward to participating in your community workshops and doing some self-editing. I’ve only been writing properly for a few years, so I still don’t feel like I’ve even begun to learn how to self-edit. I’d like to get a novella I’m working on to a stage where I might begin submitting it to publishers.’
Besides writing, what other activities will you undertake?
‘I’m hoping to attend several writers groups during my stay. I’m really interested in regional voices and am hoping to attend the Avon Valley Writers group to hear about what’s happening out there. I’m also pretty excited to have so many writing group meetings regularly where I’ll be staying. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone there and hearing about what they’re working on. I’ll also be running a Vomit a Novella in 12 Hours workshop, which is based on techniques I’ve been using for three years now to write a novella draft each year.’
Can you give us a little insight into the passion project you are working on at the moment? If not, one you intend to work on in future?
‘I’m currently working on a novella about a boy who is, perhaps, autistic. He is recovering from a traumatic event and he moves, over the course of the several hours chronicled in the book, through Wollongong on foot as we learn this about him. I’m quite interested in and influenced by contemporary flaneur literature. Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief was recently my number one book. [Christos] Tsiolkas’s Loaded was my number one previously for a while there.’
Have you always been passionate about creative cultural awareness? Did this lead to your involvement as Director of the Wollongong Writers Festival?
‘I’ve always been passionate about learning. I think that somehow morphed itself into WWF.’ For more about the festival, see here.
What is it about working with writing organisations such as South Coast Writers Centre and KSP that appeals to you?
‘I feel like this is actually a massive question. There is something so big, so important, so all-consumingly-elevating about the work organisations like SCWC and KSP do; that I can’t imagine not wanting to be part of it. I often feel like almost everything good in my life has, perhaps indirectly, come about because of reading and writing and working with organisations like SCWC and KSP are part of that. I think that question is like asking ‘why write?’ or ‘why read?’ With the exception of my family, nothing has given me as much joy and satisfaction as the people I’ve met and places I’ve been as a result of these things.’
What creative works do you enjoy writing?
‘I don’t know fully yet. I find writing hard but satisfying and I’m still in the very early stage of my writing apprenticeship and trying to figure out what to write. I like novellas at the moment, because novels feel too insurmountable to write (and often too indigestible to read). But I like writing short stories too – I like [Haruki] Murakami’s conception of the space for experimentation that shorts provide:
For me the short story is a place to try new ideas and see if they work or not. A single line of dialogue may come into my mind. I don't need a structure or a form. I only need to see how that fragment fits into the story. The beauty of the short story is that you can test anything - a piece of conversation, a haunting memory, a dream, or something overheard in a restaurant.
'I like creative works where the opening line is in your head, already in the protagonist’s voice, before you even begin typing. I like non-fiction because it feels easier than fiction, probably because I haven’t written enough of the former.’
What book are you reading at the moment?
‘I’ve just finished [Hanya] Yanagihara’s A Little Life. It’s a rare book that’s much longer than a novella and keeps me hungry until the end. She’s brilliant at seemingly small and honest details that are so mundane no one else ever thinks to talk about them (but so profound as a result).
‘I’m also reading [Haruki] Murakami’s Underground. I adore Murakami’s work, but I have to say I am as yet unimpressed with his sacrificing depth for breadth in this one. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more a matter of me having to learn to see better what Murakami has left on the page; rather than Murakami not having left much there.’
Besides writing and reading, how else do you enjoy spending your free time?
‘Running keeps me sane, baths keep me relaxed, and my family and friends keep me happy.’
What other aspirations do you have for your writing career?
‘I’m trying to figure that out as we speak.’
CHLOE HIGGINS SCHEDULE OF KSP EVENTS
To meet Chloe during her October KSP residency, please take note of the following events. Click on links for details and to book. Limited places. Advance booking and payment is required for the workshop and dinner.
How to Vomit a Novella in 12 Hours workshop
KSP Writers' Centre, Saturday 15 October, 1.00-4.00pm
Tickets from $35 for members
Literary Dinner (Halloween theme)
KSP Writers' Centre, Tuesday 25 October, 6.30-9.30pm
Tickets from $35 for members
Greenmount Public Library
Tuesday 11 October, 5.45-6.45pm, free
RVSP to Ph. 9290 6755
Feature visits to KSP's Avon Valley Writers Groups
Northam Library, Wednesday 5 October, 10.00am-12.00pm
The Duke's Inn, Thursday 6 October, 7.00pm-9.00pm
$5 members/$10 non-members payable in cash on entry
Feature visits to KSP Writers Groups
KSP Writers' Centre, Thursday 13 October, 7.30pm-9.30pm
KSP Writers' Centre, Friday 14 October, 12.30pm-3.30pm
$5 members/$12 non-members payable in cash on entry