Emily has lived through sixteen Brisbane summers. The fabric of language has long fascinated her; how simple sounds, or symbols, are woven together to create the complex mesh that is human communication. She grew up reading anything and everything, though she has since become more selective in her tastes, favouring YA fiction (particularly of the Australian and New Zealand variety) as well as the occasional plunge into novels from the eighteenth century, especially the work of the Brontë sisters. She also aspires to one day bring her own stories to page. Music is another constant companion in her life, from the songs of last-century’s rock bands to the classical pieces she plays as a cellist and pianist.
How many books do you have on the go at any one time?
I am a fairly strictly one-book-at-a-time girl. I find it more rewarding to devote myself entirely to one story when I read, though I do tend to fly through them, reading up to four books a week sometimes!
What is your favourite genre and why?
The genre of local YA fiction will always be close to my heart. Some books crackle like a bushfire with dry, witty humour, whilst others traverse the subterranean depths of complex social and/or personal issues. All have the potential to teach us something new about the world, even just with a subtle shift of the spotlight to broaden our perspectives.
Who is the author you’d most like to meet and why?
Whilst this is a logical impossibility without time travel, I would love to meet Shakespeare, even if only to relieve the mystery of his identity. Unfortunately, there seems to be no suitable technology out yet for this kind of venture, and besides, there are a plethora of modern-day writers who I would be honored to meet in person, such as Vikki Wakefield, Fiona Wood, Claire Zorn, Markus Zusak and Megan Jacobson.
Who is your favourite local author?
Without a doubt, Vikki Wakefield, who I look up to as a courageous pioneer of the YA genre.
Do you have a book you always find yourself coming back to?
I have read Nona & Me, by Claire Atkins, countless times. The writing authentically absorbs the rhythms of the protagonist’s life, growing up in her adoptive Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory and the conflict she faces when she finds herself caught between two worlds. It is enriched with valuable insight into Yolgnu language and culture, as well as reflecting on political events of the early 2000s, such as Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry’ speech.
Paper or digital?
Paper, all the way! There is something inherently satisfying about holding the weight of a story in your hands.