Amy Brown (Writing for the Page, 2006)

During the MA year, I developed the confidence and technical wherewithal to keep writing and submitting my work for publication.

Amy writes: 'I completed the MA in 2006 – nearly nine years ago now – and still recall the intensity of those months when I sit down to write. "What would Damien say?" or "What would Therese or Sarah make of this?" are faint recurrent questions as I read over new work. These days, usually, I am able to find the answer for myself.

'At the launch of The Propaganda Poster Girl, held in the IIML room where the poems were first shared and critiqued, Damien mentioned a time in class when, despite a lukewarm reaction from the group, I stood up for one of my poems and admitted that I was happy with it as it was (uncharacteristic chutzpah). He said, at that moment, he thought I'd be able to keep writing independently; or words to that effect. He was half right. During the MA year, I developed the confidence and technical wherewithal to keep writing and submitting my work for publication. But, without the MA, I don't believe I would've reached that point, so still feel a fond dependence upon the programme. And now, teaching creative writing myself, I try to model my workshops on the collegial, stimulating, (at times bordering on numinous) environment I was lucky to experience at 16 Waiteata Road.'

Bio: Amy Brown is from Hawkes Bay, but now lives in Melbourne with her Australian husband and teaches in the University of Melbourne's Creative Writing Programme, where she completed a PhD in 2012. Her latest book, a contemporary epic poem titled The Odour of Sanctity, was published by Victoria University Press in 2013. Her first book, The Propaganda Poster Girl (VUP, 2008), was written during the MA and won the Biggs Poetry Prize in 2006; it was subsequently nominated for a New Zealand Book Award. Amy is also the author of Pony Tales, a series of children's novels published by HarperCollins. She is currently working on a long poem, a children's novel and a novel for adults (and hopes to finish at least one of these eventually).

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