We are a region rich with talent! The Tamar Valley is not only abundant with wineries and sweeping water vistas, it is a place that cultivates great storytelling. To acknowledge this, the Tamar Valley Writers Festival is profiling some of the diverse talent emerging from this special Tasmanian region. From today, we will share a Q&A with established and emerging storytellers, so that you learn a little more about their life, inspiration and grounding in this valley.
First up, you'll probably be familiar with the rising star of Adam Thompson, who earlier this year released his debut book Born Into This (UQP). Adam has been busy flying across the country promoting his book of short stories, but found the time (at an airport!), to share some insights with you.
Tamar Valley Storytellers: Adam Thompson
1. What are you working on?
I am still writing short fiction — and I always will! At some point I will release another short story collection. I am writing a novel too, set in Tasmania, but that is all I will reveal [laughs]. I am keeping the plot close to my chest. This is my main focus at the moment. I also have some exciting screen projects in the works.
2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing?
I grew up in the Tamar Valley and it is the setting for much of my work. So I would say it has a HUGE influence on my writing. I hope fellow Tasmanians get a kick out of reading about the places that they are familiar with. I know I do. But I also like to change things up a bit, so don't be surprised to find a skewed version of Launceston in my novel.
3. What themes are you exploring?
In Born Into This, my debut collection, I explored themes such as heritage and environmental destruction, identity and racism. The theft of cultural and human remains is another issue that I tackle in my work. I find fiction to be a powerful medium to educate and influence people's thinking around these issues. They are not being bombarded, as they are through media, but are taking up a book and absorbing the material in their own time and in their own space. I think it gets through to people that way.
4. Describe for us where you write.
I mostly write at home. But I have taken up several residencies at the Varuna Writers House in the Blue Mountains. I have written on the islands, during cultural camps and throughout the muttonbirding season. I like the vibe at cafes and libraries as well. It's nice to have some activity around me when I'm working. I find silence distracting sometimes.
5. What is your day job, or are you a full time writer?
I have a day job. I'm proud to have worked at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for almost 20 years. I've had various roles including working as an Aboriginal ranger. I fit writing into my life where I can.
6. Finish this sentence: "If I had all the time in the world I would..."
...be with my family all the time. As great as writing is, it's got nothing on family time. I wish time would just stop. I have such an amazing family life. I am married and have a 7-year-old boy. I want the present to stretch on forever.
7. What's your favourite read so far this year?
What a hard question! I would say Aboriginal poetry would top my list, with Throat by Ellen van Neerven and Drop Bear by Evelyn Araluen. The novel I have most enjoyed is Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Flock, which is a newly released collection of First Nations short stories, edited by Ellen van Neerven, is also a must read.
Adam Thompson and Aviva Tuffield from UQP