We spoke with Brodie Lancaster ahead of her appearance at the launch of the highly anticipated 2016 Emerging Writers’ Festival Program. A superstar in our eyes, we can’t wait to hear her talk to us all about failure and ambition at The Wheeler Centre on 10 May.
You are performing at our Program Launch: ‘Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars’. Do you have moments you think about that encapsulate this theme in your own life?
You’ll have to hear my talk at the Program Launch to know the answer to that!
JK, but kind of. I guess all those in-between moments of limbo I’ve had in my life—times when I decided to move across the world or cut ties with someone or start (or quit) a big project—present that opportunity to either succeed or fail spectacularly. The decisions we make during those cloudy moments are what I think about when I hear the phrase, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars.
You do a lot – you founded the zine Filmme Fatales, you’re senior editor of The Good Copy, you write stuff yourself and have contributed to publications widely, plus more – how do you juggle all these things and transition between hats?
It’s not super glamorous or inspiring, but I don’t do much more but work. Even right now, I’m writing these answers as I go HAM on my inbox on an Amtrak from Portland to Seattle, where I’m giving a big talk tomorrow. But ultimately, everything I do kiiiiinda connects in some way, so each disparate job helps another.
The Good Copy is my day job—I’m a senior editor there and I work on editorial copywriting projects from nine to five—and it helps to keep my brain active and work out my technical writing muscles.
I put that exercise into practice when it comes to freelancing and I need to take feedback, be concise and clear in my arguments and phrase juuust the right tweet to share stuff I’ve written. (lol)
I work on Filmme Fatales both at work (it’s published by The Good Copy) and during any moment of downtime I have.
Oh, and I’m also trying to write a book right now hahahaha. I know.
What have you been working on lately?
I’m at the end of a two-month trip around America right now. While here, I’ve been covering the SXSW Film program for Filmme Fatales, I gave a talk in New York City and I’m about to give a talk on fangirls and One Direction at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle. After that, I’m going to be taking a week in LA to work on my book a little more before I come home and get back into everything I talked about doing in the previous question.
What are you excited by in the Australian literary landscape at the moment?
Without sounding like a douchey name-dropper, I’m excited by how many people I know (or even just people my age, with similar levels of writing and life experience as I have) have books out that I can buy and read, and that so many other people can too! The first thing I’m doing when I get home is buying Jennifer Down’s Our Magic Hour; I just saw Omar Musa’s book Here Come The Dogs at Powell’s in Portland; Minna Gilligan’s Time After Time, which came out last year, is one of my favourite non-fiction books. As someone who is trying to write a book right now and who never ever thought I would or could or should write a book, it’s encouraging and invigorating to read incredible work by people who make that feel possible.
Have you any advice for fellow writers?
I have a lot! But real quick, I think it is very important to remember to write what you know and like, and not what you think you’re supposed to be writing for whatever trend/style/internetty reason.
What aspects of the Emerging Writers’ Festival do you look forward to?
I love seeing everyone from Twitter IRL!!!!!! Also I really love the diversity of the programming (shoutout to me and my fellow cute’n’smart members of this year’s Programming Advisory Committee) and the commitment EWF has always had to programming people who aren’t just ~big names~; I always hear about or meet people at the festival whose work I didn’t know about before the event takes place.
Brodie Lancaster is the editor of Filmme Fatales, a zine about women and cinema, and a senior editor at The Good Copy, a writing studio in Collingwood.
She has written for Rookie, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Vulture and other publications. Her first book, a pop culture memoir called No Way! Okay, Fine!, will be out next year with Hachette.