Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction 2015 Judge Q&A: Lorelei Vashti
Unlike ABC’s Q&A, the panel for the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction is chockers with excellent women. Over the last few weeks, Lip has been getting to know our judges so you can meet the writers who will be reading your work.
For our last instalment we are featuring Lorelei Vashti, author of Dress, Memory.
What are you working on in 2015?
I have a number of big projects I’m hoping to start, but I’ve recently hit up against that difficult wall—the non-sleeping baby—and until we sort her out I don’t think I can do much. In the meantime, I’ve been writing shorter pieces for magazines and newspapers.
As a female writer, are there any experiences from your career journey that you would like to share?
I’ve been really encouraged in recent years by the responses to the VIDA count, including initiatives such as The Stella Prize, Pitch, Bitch and lots of online communities that have sprung up to support women writers. Realising that most men don’t hold themselves back from writing about a subject even if they aren’t initially an ‘expert’ in the field has given me more confidence to pitch ideas too.
What does ‘privilege’ mean to you?
I’m learning every day more what it means. I know that I have a responsibility and obligation to recognise my own, and to point out (and act upon) ways we can be more inclusive in every scenario.
The Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction calls for a focus on women’s stories. What’s your view on the current state of women’s stories in media and publishing?
Thank god for the internet because it really has created more of a conversation around the lack of women’s stories that still exists in mainstream media, and the way women can be dismissed even when they do write stuff. Online groups and communities are a real source of strength to me. Initiatives such as The Stella Prize are much needed.
Why have you agreed to judge the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction 2014?
I’m always interested in other people’s work and I love knowing what people are producing, what themes concern them, what is influencing them. I also learn a lot from other writers, but I’m finding it hard at the moment, as a time-poor new parent, to discover new work. So this is a brilliant opportunity for me to read new writers and be excited and motivated by them! So I guess I agreed purely for selfish reasons.
What will you be looking for when judging the competition?
A confident voice, sentences that blow me away, and a story that pulls me along with it.