17 June 2015
Spotlight On: Hannah Story
Hannah Story is a writer, editor and performer from Sydney, who has appeared at Late Night Library,
Surry Hills Festival, and Digital Writers’ Festival. Her work has been published in The Lifted Brow,
Seizure, The UTS Writers’ Anthology, and Visible Ink among others. She is Arts Editor at The Music, and Deputy Online Editor at The Lifted Brow.
How old are you?
What state or territory do you live in?
New South Wales
What kind of writing do you do?
Creative non-fiction, arts journalism, music journalism, semi-romantic, semi-real border-memoir-fiction
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman. It makes me want to move to San Francisco. I really admire Ulman’s dialogue: I’ve caught myself saying to myself ‘Oh God, I’ve said that.’
How did you begin writing?
When I was five I wrote a knock-off of The Little Match Girl, entitled The Poor Girl. I think there was a giant in it. It was art.
How do you remain motivated?
I don’t. I lag and I eat chocolate and I try and go out a lot or read a lot to avoid having to write something. But I try and write a little every day, even if it’s just for work. And I think all that reading, and those cultural or not-so-cultural experiences, inform what you’re writing. You can’t write when you’re shut inside all the time, because you’re not feeling the emotions that you need to make truly believable work.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Inspiration comes in small moments and shattering moments of self-doubt. Oh, and Chris Kraus.
Do you think where you live in Australia has influenced your writing?
I’m not sure my writing is quintessentially Sydney: although it’s definitely influenced by the people in Sydney. I think Australia as a whole has informed my writing, in terms of tone and style, as well as the stories I’m interested in. I like to read about particularly Australian things, like hot afternoons sweating in the local pub, written with a sense of self-deprecating humour.
What is the best and worst piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer?
Tegan Bennett-Daylight was always on about “feeling” the piece. If as a writer you weren’t happy with it, you were unsure, the reader would probably be unsure too. That was probably the best.
The worst? Probably something about not writing what you know. Sure you should break out of your comfort zone, sometimes, but I still think it’s valid to write about things close to you, to make them valid of the lofty heights of “literature”.
What piece of published writing are you most proud of? Why?
I’m really happy with my most recent piece for The Lifted Brow. Thanks to my editor Annabel Brady-Brown we managed to make something really tight and evocative. Writing and brainstorming that was one of those times I was really excited and motivated.
I’m most proud of my first published piece though, Slacks, in the UTS Writers’ Anthology 2013. I think editors are the people who help you create the work that’s in your head, but not quite on the page, so again I’d like to cheers to my editor then, Justin Wolfers, who helped make my first publish piece of fiction into something I felt really reflected that particular period in my life.
What is your goal for National Young Writer’s Month?
To try to spend even just fifteen minutes a day writing. It’s going to be impossible because it’s Sydney Film Festival time and I’ve signed myself up to at least a film a day, but hey, I can give it a crack.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?
Let’s just chuck my bio in here again:
Hannah Story is a writer, editor and performer from Sydney, who has appeared at Late Night Library, Surry Hills Festival, and Digital Writers’ Festival. Her work has been published in The Lifted Brow, Seizure, The UTS Writers’ Anthology, and Visible Ink among others. She is Arts Editor at The Music,and Deputy Online Editor at The Lifted Brow.
And maybe I should apologise to the people I write about. But nah. I’m more interested in apologising to the people I didn’t write about, or from whom I stole stories. My bad.
Where can we find out more about you?