2 June 2015

Spotlight On: Katerina Bryant

Katerina BryantKaterina is a writer, editor and law student based in Adelaide. She is a columnist at Lip Magazine, where she writes about life and feminism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Overland and Voiceworks. She edits for the SA Writers Centre’s Dubnium literary journal.

How old are you?

What state or territory do you live in?
South Australia

What kind of writing do you do?
I write nonfiction, roaming between personal essays and more formal articles. My writing focuses on social issues, often with a strong feminist theme. My essay about being a woman novice chess player in a male dominated chess culture for Spook perhaps sums me up (as a person and writer) quite well.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper. It’s about Cameron Doomadgee, an Aboriginal man who died while in police custody on Palm Island.

I’ve been exclusively reading Australian women writers for an upcoming project, but mostly just because they’re wonderful.

How did you begin writing?
When I began studying, I thought fiction was my preferred form. I was nervous to write nonfiction as I wasn’t comfortable claiming I was an ‘expert’ on a given topic. But after writing articles for student media, I gained confidence and now almost exclusively write nonfiction and memoir style pieces while writing fiction on a more casual basis.

How do you remain motivated?
I stay motivated by reading, especially fellow emerging writers’ work. I find being excited by other people’s work allows me to be excited about and motivated to finish my own.

I’m also currently finishing a law degree and I think the alternative of practicing law as opposed to being in the creative industries keeps me extra motivated.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
My work is usually fuelled by reflecting on feminist thought and issues I struggle with in my everyday life, like writing on feminist advertising in my column for Lip Magazine. I find the best way to do work through these issues is to write.    

Do you think where you live in Australia has influenced your writing?
I like to think that place doesn’t inform my writing too much. But when considering this question I realised my writing recently has been about crime and feminism, two things SA has historically done quite well – we were the first state in Australia to grant voting rights to women and have produced a few notorious serial killers.

What is the best and worst piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer?
I think the best advice I’ve ever received is a painfully obvious one: be familiar with the publication you’re submitting to. The heartache of ten different rejection letters isn’t worth it if you’ve done no research. Plus, there’s another person on the other side of Submittable who has to read your work.

The worst advice I’ve heard, I think, is when a writer says that there is one particular way to write. It’s a personal process and different things work for different people.

What piece of published writing are you most proud of? Why?
I’m particularly proud of a forthcoming essay in the hundredth issue of Voiceworks about true crime and its cathartic effect on society. In this essay I felt like I clearly articulated my opinion on the gendered aspect to why certain crimes receive public notoriety.

What is your goal for National Young Writer’s Month?
I’ve set myself the challenge of writing a 10,000 word or so essay in the near future. The topic is still a little fuzzy so my goal for National Young Writers’ Month is to find my angle and get stuck into research.

Where can we find out more about you?
I tweet at @katerina_bry and keep a record of my work over at http://katerinabryant.tumblr.com/