Tara June Winch, Writer
We love Australian-born, Paris-based author Tara June Winch. Her writing is joyous and vivid, so unapologetically poetic that you sometimes have to pause and bask in her prose. We're honoured to present her words to you on #shemakesnice. There's so much she can teach us, from the art of just putting a few sentences on a page, to the word-beauty of Patti Smith. Read on and be inspired.
Hi Tara, what do you do?
I'm primarily a writer of fiction, but I've published essays and memoir in the past. I also teach at two universities here in France.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
For work – "You can edit anything but a blank page" – I'm not sure where that is from.
For life – "Be kind" – to people, deadlines, animals, the environment, emotions, myself (it's simple and easy to follow).
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
1). Having my daughter even though I was alone and making the decision at the age of 21, it gave me a greater purpose and just endless compassion and joy.
2). Traveling off the beaten track, it's given me perspective and appreciation of the great differences, which after learning a new place, become small differences.
3). Not letting fear get in the way of writing, handing over the writing and letting the writing be criticised.
What is your dream project?
This life I'm living and the work I'm doing is 100% my dream project, I just want it to last for as long as possible.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Two new books are coming out shortly – a short story collection in August and a novel thereafter. I just started writing a middle-grade book series for my daughter, which is so incredibly difficult and also so exciting and daunting because I'm writing something for the person I love the most in the world!
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary to present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
Patti Smith, she's really just an incredible wordsmith, and so original and unvarnished, she's also a dreamer, which is a beautiful quality when so much about where people stand is either in ignorance or unwavering conviction.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Get the words down on the page and then the real hard work begins. My former mentor Wole Soyinka said it and it's stuck.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I think so yes, I think if you reach out there is definitely a strong support system there, but generally writers tend to keep to themselves, I get it. Anita Heiss has been a champion from the very beginning for me and an inspirational woman, I really would like to see her at Make Nice too. :)
What are you listening to and/or reading that is inspiring or entertaining you?
I've always been a huge fan of the work of journalists Christiane Amanpour and Amy Goodman, and any journalism pieces they do I watch. I'm listening to Thelma Plum at the moment, who is a rad Aboriginal singer and also reading a bunch, in particular Elena Ferrante.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
The Australian government axing funding to the arts over the last decade has been heartbreaking – the effect trickles down to the little guys, the festival employees, the writers, the journal publishers; basically it shrinks the entire arts industry and art makers get squeezed out of being able to make art, which is a sad state of affairs. That's why it's so important to champion the young and marginalised creatives in your field or other artistic field. we need more beautiful things, more magical, mind bending, handmade, expressive things in the world to overcome the despair. Art is an antidote to the pain of existence.