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Q&A with writer Natalie Sprite

Former Darwinite Natalie Sprite has established a writing career spanning over 20 years, with a whole heap of accolades under her belt. Off The Leash caught up with Natalie ahead of her NT workshops to chat about her written words.

What’s life been like for you as a writer?
Writing is something I need to do. It helps me make sense of things. It gives me purpose. It’s also a way of trying to hold onto the days as they spill away from me.

Did you always know you wanted  to be a writer?
I always knew I wanted to write. But for a long time I didn’t know I was allowed to be a writer. When I was a teenager, a career advisor came to my school. He had these pamphlets printed in green and white - one for every job. The one on writing said, “Writing is not a career you can make a living from. See Marketing. Public Relations. Journalism.” Foolishly, that’s exactly what I did. But I kept writing and eventually the writing took on a life that wasn’t about making a living, but something more expansive. Something of the soul. 

Who would you say is your biggest influence?
Helen Garner. Her sentences are immaculate. Her characters go deep into me, like people I love. I read and re-read everything she has written. 

You’ve won a swag of writing awards, most recently the 2016 Asialink Fellowship in Indonesia – what would you say has been the highlight so far?
The writing, to tell you the truth. The awards are lovely, and I’m so grateful for the way they connect me with other writers and bring readers to my work, but the deep nourishment comes from the writing itself. The moments when I am carried by the work. 

You’ve spent a lot of time writing in Bali, why do you think the region gets your creative juices flowing?
Creating beauty has an everyday soulfulness in Bali that I love. Also, being an outsider makes me notice things and want to catch them on the page. The smells, the colour, the way the people move. The funny, beautiful, poignant conversations. The way my life bumps up against strangers and the odd, sweet moments of intimacy that arise when I least expect them.

Darwin Workshops | Sun 25 Sep | 10am and 2pm | ntwriters.com.au

Palmerston Workshops | Thu 29 Sep, 4pm | Sat 1 Oct, 10am | palmerston.nt.gov.au/library

 

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