16 November 2017

Meet the 2017 Scribe Nonfiction Prize Shortlist – Sian Campbell

In the lead up to announcing The 2017 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, we’re introducing you to every name and face on the shortlist. These are some of the brightest nonfiction minds in the country and they’re all aged 30 and under. Read their profiles on the Express Media blog to learn more about their writing journeys, love of nonfiction and their tips and tricks to writing the best real-life.

Sian Campbell, 29, Victoria
Harriet and the Aliens

How did you begin writing?

I wrote a book review for school in year 5 and my teacher really pushed me to pursue my writing outside. I mostly ignored her, but I guess it stuck with me and in 2009 I began a Creative Writing degree at QUT in Brisbane. In 2010 I attended NYWF for the first time, which really cemented it all for me and kicked everything into gear.

Why do you write nonfiction?

It’s just what feels most natural to me as a writer. I kind of think all fiction is really non-fiction anyway, or at least that the separation between the categories is arbitrary. I like to play with the line between them because that line is what interests me as a writer.

Tell us a bit about your submission to the Scribe Prize…

It’s about a character who is based on myself, a sort of memoir/fiction hybrid. It’s about a lonely period in my life, and it’s a combination of truth and “what if?” Though there are elements that are clearly fiction (aliens!) those elements are all representative of something real.

Why did you choose to write it?

It was inspired by events in my real life, and a desire to see what would happen if I tried to write a sort of grown up, millennial, weird Harriet the Spy. I’ve been writing and re-writing a version of this for a few years.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

I think all writing advice is subjective and that nothing works for everyone, but I do think running helps my writing practice in some weird way (thanks Murakami!) and that reading is really the best thing you can do for yourself as a writer.

Find more from Sian at siancampbell.com and on Twitter @seanquornball.