Between the Lines

Between the Lines interviews a diverse selection of Australian writers to uncover the hidden processes, research, and inspiration that goes into the making of a book. With a focus on debut writers from independent presses, Jay Anderson and Amy Lin ask questions of short story writers, novelists and poets to learn more about what informs recent works of literature. In responding to Between the Lines, our authors open up new questions, and ignite further conversations.

Amy Lin is a Perth writer who has recently completed her PhD on mental illness in Australian poetry. She has published poems, essays, interviews and reviews in Westerly, Cordite, Social Alternatives, Verity La and Axon. Amy has performed her poetry at Perth Writers Festival, Voicebox, Perth Poetry Club, Sturmfrei Poetry Night, and Spoken Word Perth.

Jay Anderson is a professional writer and editor, with a background in Literary and Cultural Studies. He’s currently completing an Honours of creative writing at Curtin University—where he is the Chief Editor of the campus’ student publication, Grok Magazine.

"I wanted to represent something that felt true to my experience of Australia, as well as my family and upbringing."
"Satire is a powerful tool which many Aboriginal people who’ve lived on reserves, as I did, use and, have used to reply and make comment with and upon the world."
"...imagining what the world would look and feel like if the warming of the earth went unchecked and the battle to reverse the trend of warming was effectively lost in 200 to 250 years’ time."
"I think it’s really hard to fully understand how much a natural disaster can affect you without going through it."
"I think I was less aware that I was writing about queerness. It wasn’t an aspect of my characters I’d considered, they just were."
"Simply: white Australia tries to push itself or lengthen its distance of ignorance..."
"The attitudes towards women aspiring to be orthopaedic surgeons is shameful. Many men in the fraternity have to travel some distance to arrive into the 21st century."
"Through engaging stories that are told from diverse perspectives, young readers are enabled to empathise with the experience of others."
"It is not an accident that class goes unmentioned, but the result of a deliberate and largely successful process designed to remove it from the conversation."
"When I write, I write to heal, to bring awareness to our nation’s history, to find unity."
"Love, I realised, is a state of being that emerges from a practise. You develop love through intimacy, truth-telling and truth-listening, custodianship, and the simple act of being together: hiking, fishing, birdwatching, camping, breathing, smelling, touching, eating Country."
"Setting the novel in the sixties allowed the examination of attitudes to these subjects to be revealed and a reader looking back can appreciate how far we have come, but also understand and, perhaps, see issues we still shroud in bias and misunderstanding."
"When I enter a space, the hijab puts my physical attractiveness on the back-burner and foregrounds my personality and intellect."
"He made it his business to know the people who lived around us. It seems we don’t do that anymore. We leave our front door, hop in the car, and drive away from the neighbourhood."
"I was interested in the impositions we accept as ordinary, and what might happen if we took them seriously, as though they took up as much time in our lives as our grand dreams."
“To consider that the myriad of voices, characters, aesthetics, and so on, rather than singular, is not experimental—it is the norm in many parts of the world.”
“We can be moved by music in a way that we cannot verbally express or capture; similarly, a poem can resonate from what is not said."
"I like to see the words as objects separate from their meaning, sitting up out of the sentence, and so I try to manipulate this in the swift action of writing.”
"So much of storytelling is about lowering a bucket into some deep, dark well inside yourself and sorting through what comes up."
"As a teacher, I see every day the struggles that teenagers face and what they have to deal with before they even get into the classroom."
“I never stop thinking about what it means to be human; and I try to celebrate the joys and sorrow of living, and the ways in which we all are dying, and eventually arrive at death.”
"I’m also fascinated by perception. Someone is convinced they have seen a ghost—science says there must be an explanation, but even if there is, the emotional imprint, the response, of the individual can’t be dismissed."
“I believe there are fundamental questions that consume so many children of survivors... 'If the Holocaust had never happened and, consequently, my parents had never met, does that mean I owe my life to this catastrophe?’”
“We know the parts of each other that we choose to share, and the versions that we present. There’s a great power in choosing to whom, and to what extent, we share ourselves.”
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