27 October 2015
Spotlight On Scribe: Emma Marie Jones
This week, we’re bringing you daily Q&A’s from our Scribe Nonfiction Prize Long-listed writers. Read on for more information on their work, writing journeys, and all their tips, tricks and advice for budding young non-fic creators.
Emma Marie Jones is a Melbourne-based poet and writer. She’s a masters student in Creative Writing at Melbourne University, and the Sex Editor at SPOOK magazine. Her short fiction, poems, essays and criticism have appeared in SPOOK, Scum, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, The Suburban Review and others. She tweets at @emmacones.
How old are you?
What state or territory do you live in?
How did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid, but I probably started taking writing more seriously once I got to university and became involved with student media. That’s when I really started treating my work as a craft.
Why do you write nonfiction?
I don’t like to think about my writing as either “fiction” or “non-fiction”. I like to situate it kind of on the boundary between the two, if there is one. Things are only true if you believe they are, anyway.
Tell us a bit about your longlisted Scribe submission.
It’s a story about grief, and the way that loss and grief shatter your identity, your sense of self. The way that grief makes your self plural.
Why did you choose to write on this topic as a young writer?
Anyone who’s ever grieved knows what it’s like to be preoccupied with grief. It can be important to tell your story to try and shift that burden, to move it around a little, to get a sense of it from all of its angles and understand it better – but also to understand its beauty and its power. To textualise is to contextualise.
How long have you been working on your submission, or where in development was your piece prior to entering the Scribe prize?
It’s actually part of my thesis, which was about halfway finished when I entered it into the Scribe prize. I’ve just finished the thesis, but I’d really like to turn it into a longer work.
How important is Australia to you and your writing?
The Australian literary community is a really supportive network and has been a priceless resource for me as an emerging writer. Concepts like “place” and “home” are really important to my sense of identity, and identity is a huge part of all my work, so Australia is also very important in a more poetic, abstract way, too.
What the best and worst piece of advice that you’ve received about writing?
The best piece of advice is the simplest: write, and write every day. Never don’t write. Take notes about everything. Write everything that you see down. Trust me, do it. The worst piece of advice? I think Ernest Hemingway said something like “never think about the story when you’re not working on it”. That’s BS. Think about whatever you want whenever you want. Stop policing my thoughts Ernest and get in the bin.
What is your favourite or most influential work of nonfiction that you’ve read? How has it affected your writing?
I Love Dick by Chris Kraus is one of my favourite works of non-fiction. It’s been so influential on my work in so many ways. Chris Kraus is so fearless and biting and intimidatingly smart and witty and I adore her. I Love Dick is sexy and needy and soaring and deeply, deeply personal. Every time I pick it up I can’t put it down. It’s like holding a precious object. I read it for the first time during a very lonely summer and it was so, so fitting and it impacted me very profoundly.
Can you share a piece of your published nonfiction work that you’re particularly proud of?
Here’s an essay I wrote last year for Seizure about desire in textual, online spaces called “C’s Dick”.
The Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers is a developmental award to foster talented writers aged 30 or under who are working on a longform or book-length nonfiction work.
In addition to a cash prize of $1,500, the winner receives the opportunity to meet with a publisher or an editor and to experience the process of working with an editor on their writing. The winner also receives a year-long subscription to Scribe: each month for 12 months, one new-release title will be sent out to them before it’s in stores.
The 2015 Scribe Nonfiction Prize shortlist will be announced on November 2nd, 6pm, at The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. This event is free, but bookings are essential.