Local artist profile: Lorraine Marwood

THIS week we speak with multi award winning poet and author Lorraine Marwood.

What motivates you to become an author and poet?

That’s interesting because I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. I didn’t necessarily think I’d be a poet at eight-years-old and that was the age when I knew deep inside that writing was something I wanted to do but didn’t know much about it. As a teenager and studying at college, I pursued every avenue that I could discover about writing and submitting work. I read a lot and scribbled a lot – two important factors in any writing career.

How would you describe your style?

My style or voice has probably been evolving over a number of years writing between poetry and prose and entering competitions and submitting work and getting feedback, rejections, acceptance or encouragement. I’m not sure I can describe my style myself – I suppose my published work will reflect that style. And lately it has evolved from literary poetry to short chapter books for children, to poetry for children, to verse novels and novels. I am hoping I have a unique voice tempered by life experiences as a mother, teacher, farmer, gardener, animal lover and grandmother.

Are there any themes you like to feature in your work?

I think my life experiences are often reflected in my work. My farming years and our rearing of a big family, my teaching, my interests in gardening, nature, history, observation. I am always squirreling away little gems of memory.

I think our observation of daily life makes our writing so much richer and I believe one role of a poet is to show us those tiny moments and details that often we miss in the general pace of everyday life.

Which other authors inspire you?

Contemporary Australian authors, my co-writers in the Australian children’s writing scene like Katrina Nannestad, Claire Saxby, Sally Murphy, Glenda Millard and in verse novels: authors like Steven Herrick, Sherryl Clark, Kat Apel. Also American verse novelists for children like Karen Hesse and Sharon Creech.

What are some highlights you have from your career?

My first ever children’s novel acceptance was wonderful and then later on accepting the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary award for children’s writing in 2010 for my children’s novel star jumps.

Also, a novel leave-taking very close to my heart was joint winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary prize for children in 2019. Whenever a poem or manuscript is accepted it is such a thrill as each piece of writing is always a long time in the evolving.

How can people check out your work and, most importantly, purchase it?

I have a website – lorrainemarwood.com – and am on Facebook and Instagram.

Books can be purchased from Boomerang books, Booktopia, local bookshops or from University of Queensland Press.

What would you say to regional aspiring authors thinking of making a go of the writing life?

Start now. No time like the present. Persistence and practice are your friends. Just think of writing three surprising details of life a day and date the entries in a notebook. Carry it wherever you go – write down a snatch of conversation that intrigues you or a detail that arrests your attention or an idea – if it grabs your attention then it will grab a potential reader’s attention also.

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