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 | Naarm with her Australian husband and child. Her first book, The Propaganda Poster Girl (THWUP, 2008), was written during the MA and won the Biggs Poetry Prize in 2006; it was nominated for a New Zealand Book Award in 2009. She completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2012, the creative component of which was a contemporary epic poem titled The Odour of Sanctity, subsequently published by Te Herenga Waka University Press in 2013. In 2019, Neon Daze (THWUP), her verse journal of the first months of motherhood was named one of the Saturday Paper's books of the year. Amy is also the author of Pony Tales, a series of children's novels published by HarperCollins. Her debut novel for adults, My Brilliant Sister, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and will be published by Simon & Schuster in early 2024.
Photo credit: Carmen Zammit