The Monthly talks to writer and poet Lily Holloway – Part 1

What started you writing as a form of self-expression?

I feel lucky to have two very creative parents: my mum is a writer and my dad has been in a band since I can remember. They have always encouraged me to be creative.

My mum recently sent me a couple of poems that I wrote when I was six years old. So this is my earliest extant work:

“My mum is buttyfle

like the sun. Her

laugh is like a little

bird. Her voise is

like a opra singer.

Her smiel is like

a cresent moon. Her

hands are warm like

the oven.”

Not much has changed other than my spelling!

Did you write all the way through childhood or your school years?

Throughout school, the main creative writing I engaged with was speechmaking and writing arguments for debates. I really enjoyed being able to write something that was convincing. Similarly, I still enjoy being able to write a cohesive and persuasive essay.

I think I wrote one poem in the entire time I was at high school. I wanted to be a part of the spoken word team but the meetings were on Saturdays and those were the days I had my shift at the local PaperPlus.

You are at University now, is that correct?

I have completed my undergraduate degree in English and Ancient History and I am currently completing my honours year in English.

How does that impact your writing?

My creative writing is definitely influenced by what I have learnt during my degree. Critical analysis of text has allowed me to really understand what is happening at the nuts-and-bolts level of whatever I am reading. I enjoy unpacking what a poem is doing and attempting to emulate it in my work—whether it is thematic or technical.

I am also interested in the intersection between academic and creative work. A lot of what I am looking at for my honours research has to do with creative writing as an academic methodology. It is very exciting!

What will your studies allow you to do once you have completed them?

I am aiming to pursue academia for a while longer (until it stops being fun!). I think I would like to teach English literature or creative writing at a tertiary level. I am in my second year of being a graduate teaching assistant and I find it really enjoyable work. I would like to try my hand at some more longform research and hopefully, one day, write a bunch of books.

Part two of this interview is here

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