Katherine Brabon won the 2016 Vogel’s Literary Award for The Memory Artist and was interviewed for the Sydney Morning Herald by Melanie Kembrey.
‘We’re all familiar with the stories of struggling writers – the piles of rejection letters from publishing houses, the abject poverty, the bad posture from years spent hunched over a desk.
‘But for Katherine Brabon, 29, the publication of her first novel, The Memory Artist, occurred with a suddenness and smoothness that she is still trying to figure out.
‘”For it to happen so quickly, I’m still turning around going, ‘how did that happen and how did I come to be a writer?'” says Brabon, “I was ready to wait a lot longer, I was prepared for a lot more of a struggle. I know how difficult it is and so I’m feeling incredibly grateful that this will be a book that I get to hold so soon.”
‘While Brabon has always been an avid reader, she did not grow up wanting to become a fiction writer and had only tried her hand at a short story before starting on her novel. She nurtured a passion for Russian history during high school, she has an arts/law degree from Melbourne and she did a Masters in History at Oxford.
‘The Memory Artist was written for the PhD in creative writing that she is set to complete at Monash University by the end of the year.
‘Her studies gave her the factual basis for the work and she relied heavily on archival research, particularly photographs, to give her a better sense of the time and place.
‘Brabon plans to keep writing fiction…and hopes to continue with her academic work.
“I think universities are getting better now at recognising that creative work is an academic output,” she said.’