17 October 2018

Meet the 2018 Scribe Nonfiction Prize Shortlist – Madison Griffiths

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.

Madison Griffiths, 24, Victoria
Her Body as in an Empty Space

How did you begin writing?

I used to keep diaries. Lots of them. I would betray them after a while only to be wooed by the hardcover of a blank journal, and then I’d start writing again. I’ve never finished a diary because I’m meticulous and fussy.

Why do you write nonfiction?

There is something really powerful about having the creative tools to make sense of one’s truth. I like being able to turn something boring, or flippant, or tragic or funny into something poetic. Writing nonfiction allows me the space to reflect on past events in a unique way. I can own my experiences, rather than having them own me.

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

‘Her Body as in an Empty Space’ is fragmented auto-biography that tackles what it means to be a woman living with chronic, sexual pain. It is framed around many different definitions and interpretations of the word ‘open’, and how I have emulated those meanings in my day-to-day life. I wanted to interrogate the complex ways that pain manifests beyond the body, and whether or not bodies are places of resistance.

Why did you choose to write on this subject?

My experiences with a sexual pain disorder feels like a huge, unresolved facet of who I am. It demands attention. It seemed only fair to afford it the time, words and curiosity it requires.

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

I haven’t received it personally (I wish), but Deborah Levy once said, in an interview with The Guardian, that writing is about stamina: “you have to be interested enough and curious enough to sit down for many hours, like on a long-haul flight, and haul your ideas home.” I agree. There is something gritty and ugly about the process, sure. But it’s important.