Why I Read

My shelf is messy, cluttered and crammed full of books: old ones, new ones, some loved and others not so much.

There are 3 different covers of Nineteen Eighty Four, a tatty old copy of Wuthering Heights that my grandma gave to me and a complete version of Shakespeare’s works that has, more than once, capsized my bookcase.

But what is missing are books from my own time and from my own peers: the writers of a modern, contemporary Australia.

For this reason, Shelf Life is not only an appointed assignment. It is an attempt to explore this missing shelf of my own literary knowledge: by reading, speaking to and becoming involved in the literary pursuits of the young writers from this young nation.

Why I Write

My name is Rachael and i’m a 3rd year Bachelor of Journalism student from the University of Wollongong. But – lets face it, i’ve been writing a hell of a lot longer than that.

The first thing I ever wrote was a god awful poem about someone stealing bread for their family and eventually dying, only because ‘dime’ was the one word I could think of that would rhyme with ‘time’. I was seven.

My next so-called masterpiece was a blatant rip-off of Sailor Moon crossed with a little bit of Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club about inter-stellar sisters that I (some would argue) cleverly decided to name The Planet Girls. Suffice to say, the novel never moved on from the 5th page and a poorly drawn title illustration.

These early endeavours of prose brought to my attention the sad, solemn truth that I have the imagination of a boiled potato.

So after a bit of soul searching I decided to write the words to other people’s stories- And that’s how journalism picked me.

This project is a chance for me to put my two loves together, writing and reading.

What I want you to get out of it? Faith in the future of our literature. I hope you find the works mentioned and the people interviewed as whole-heartedly inspiring as I do. Because there is nothing more fulfilling than sinking deep between the covers of a good book.

Especially one that I didn’t try to write.


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