I'm a biologist and writer based in Brisbane, Australia. In 2013, I was awarded an ARC Early-Career Research Fellowship to study the relationship between life history (i.e. environment and experience) and ageing in mammals.

I write short stories and essays and am working on a novel set in the world of science. My pieces have been published in Peppermint Magazine, Monkeybicycle and Creative Nonfiction as well as featured in two Tiny Owl Workshop projects.

Keep up with all the latest news here

Writer to Writer

I'll be writing more about this as I go, but I've been accepted into the US-based Association of Writers & Writing Programs' (AWP) Mentorship Program! This project connects emerging with established writers for 3 months of online and on-phone work together. Mentors are sent a few mentee applications in their sphere of interest and expertise, from which they choose the writer they feel they can most connect with and push to the next level.

It blew my mind to find out that I'd be working with the amazing writer Alice Sebold (of The Lovely Bones, and Lucky, and The Almost Moon) in the program! My aim is to write the world through the lens of science--connecting worlds to show people something they've never seen before. Alice's mentorship comes at just the right time, as I write my first novel, and already (3 weeks in) her advice on exploration and revision and publication have made a huge difference in my writing life!

You can learn more about the program here - and if you're an emerging or established writer I recommend you check it out!

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Tin House Winter Workshop on Fiction, 2016

Tin House Winter Workshop - Nye Beach, Oregon - January 2016

Last week I was part of the Tin House Winter Workshop--a small session on fiction held at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, on the Oregon coast. I went to work with Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, whose book Madeleine is Sleeping is one of my favourites; I wanted feedback on the first two chapters of a novel I'm working on that highlights my scientific research and interests in life history theory. I got great comments and a lot of support. Now I have to finish this thing!

One interesting thing I noticed (well, we all did), was that all but one of the 18 students at the workshop were women. Apparently most of the applicants were women. On the whole, Tin House magazine publishes more women than men. And the 2014 VIDA count for gender equality in publishing "celebrates Tin House in their efforts toward gender parity," though many other great journals aren't so good at this. Men still out-publish women, get more reviews than women, and so on. Let's keep working toward equity. 

Here are a few notes on my weekend:
1. I met two dozen amazing people from all over the country, and we ate tempeh tacos and coddled eggs (?!) and drank wine and tea and discussed stories and novel excerpts and successes and failures and children (paper and otherwise). 

2. In his craft talk, Wells Tower asked us to fulfil our contract with the reader, to surprise, to transcend the page--give the old man a drug dealer when he expects a prostitute. And keep revising, again and again (and again). PS. Best author name ever.

3. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum read an excerpt from Denis Johnson's Train Dreams, and asked us to consider place in our work, to write about the destruction of somewhere we love, to write with the clarity loss brings. She was insightful and engaging, and one of the nicest people I've ever met. 

4. Mitchell Jackson asked us to listen to words, to let them sound out even more than their meanings. The man sheds poetry like skin cells. 

5. Tin House editors Meg Storey, Lance Cleland and Thomas Ross shared their experiences behind the desk in the book and magazine and online divisions. 

6. My stack of to-reads is even taller now, thanks to the instructors and my classmates and Tin House, but who am I to complain about that? Now I have to read Everything Ravaged Everything Burned (Wells Tower), The New and Improved Romie Futch (Julia Elliott), Relief Map (Rosalie Knecht), 10:04 (Ben Lerner), The Residue Years (Mitchell Jackson), The Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson), Dept of Speculation (by Jenny Offill). And the latest issue of Tin House magazine. I'm sure there are more ...

7. Finally, my talented class-mate Ananda captured the heart of this workshop so beautifully--her pictures are incredible, and they are here. Seriously, CHECK OUT HER PHOTOS

Thinking about a Tin House workshop? I haven't been to the summer one, but this one has about 1/10th of the participants and is obviously much more intimate as a result. I got what I needed and more--though I do wish the workshop was followed by a week-long retreat in secluded cabins somewhere … 

Want more from Tin House? Many Tin House Craft Essays are available online, including some of my favourites: On Pandering (or, How to Write Like a Man), by Clare Vaye Watkins and Short Story--Process of Revision, by Antonya Nelson. Or you can listen to The Tin House Podcast, which features interesting talks and readings on topics like defamiliarization and the hallmarks of a kick-ass essay.

Keep writing,
Amanda xx

#cnftweet

This week I was inspired by this to listen better, see deeper and write a little creative nonfiction every day. In 140 characters or less.

I love a challenge! Especially when it involves writing short. Follow along on Twitter or here.