22 October 2018
Meet the 2018 Scribe Nonfiction Prize Shortlist – Georgia Mill
In the lead up to announcing The 2018 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 stories.
Georgia Mill, 30, VIC
The Body in Line
How did you begin writing?
I’ve always written and drawn since I was a little kid. It’s an important way of expressing myself and documenting things around me. I keep a notebook and write down (not as often as I’d like to!) things that stand out to me or thoughts I have.
Why do you write nonfiction?
I generally write fiction, so this is a bit of a change for me. This is the first long form nonfiction piece that I’ve written aside from more folio based pieces for uni. I wrote it as a way of documenting my experiences with chronic pain and navigating the health care system.
Tell us a bit about your submission to the Scribe Prize:
This piece is a combination of diary entries and writings made over the last few years documenting my experience of living with chronic pain and having operations. These have been combined with my interest in mapping and the use of line work as a method of storytelling. I have also included quotes and text by artists and authors whose practice centres on mapping and the body. The work engages with psychogeography and how our movement through space carries with it a distinct memory and trace. It looks at the body as a terrain that can be subjectively mapped and studied. Although I still experience pain, it is more manageable and I feel a distance and perspective that made writing this piece possible.
Why did you choose to write on this subject?
I don’t think we’re very good at talking about pain. Especially when it’s chronic, because treatments are often hard to find and what works for one person doesn’t work for the next.
I wasn’t sure what I intended to do when I started writing about this subject. I just started as a way of talking about pain and getting it out of my head.
My experience is not as severe as others, but I think that navigating healthcare systems and the frustration and vulnerability that goes along with it is something that we should find new ways of talking about. I also found that being a queer woman was spotlighted throughout this process and I had to ‘come out’ to health care professionals repeatedly as well as managing the care of my body. It was a frustrating a tiring process and writing about it was a good was of processing it and seeing the humour in it.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not sure I can remember one particular piece of advice, but the ongoing advice and support I receive from West Writer’s Group at FCAC definitely stands out as helping me trust my voice and share my work.