11 August 2016

Meet the Scribe Nonfiction Prize Shortlist: Phoebe Tully

In the lead up to announcing the winner of The 2016 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, we’re introducing you to every talented young writer on our shortlist.  Read on for more information on their work, writing journeys, and all their tips, tricks and advice for budding young non-fic creators.


Phoebe Tully – Let Them Eat Kale

Age: 23

How did you begin writing? I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It must be in my blood. In saying that, it’s probably been just over a year since I decided it was actually a real job and I could unashamedly introduce myself as a writer.

What’s your favourite work of nonfiction? I found Provence, 1970 to be deeply inspiring. Its content is great fun – a small group of people changing the food industry – but it also focused my writing ambitions. Have history degree, will write.

Why do you write nonfiction? I did my undergraduate in modern history, which fueled both my lust for knowledge and my interest in understanding events and people in their historical context. I like to deep dive into a subject and, to paraphrase Thoreau, suck the marrow out of it. (A grisly phrase that glamourises what is actually just hours and hour of sitting by myself at home.)

Tell us a bit about your submission to the Scribe Prize…I wrote Let Them Eat Kale to lament what I see as a lazy, hands-off approach to the world’s largest health scare: obesity. I don’t think our governments can, hand on heart, say they are doing enough.

Why did you choose to write it? I call our current response the ‘let them eat kale’ mentality. The advice to eat ‘healthy’ and exercise more ignores the disproportionate costs of living, as well as the significant research into the correlations between obesity and poverty. You and I can afford to eat organic kale if we feel like it – but we are in the minority, and shouldn’t think otherwise. We need a new approach before health becomes exclusively tied to wealth.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received? And the worst? The best piece of advice I have received is this: ‘Just write’. ‘Write what you know,’ could be considered terribly poor advice if it encourages you to stop thinking about the world and researching to fill gaps in your knowledge. Curiosity is vital.

What piece of work, published or unpublished, are you most proud of? I am proud of my article I wrote for delicious. Magazine. It may not be my best piece of work ever but it was my first major publication. And it was a lot of fun!

You can find out more about Phoebe and her work at www.phoebetully.com