Winner of the Short Fiction category of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012, Kate Nowakowski speaks to Aesthetica about her success and her advice to writers. There is still chance to submit Short Fiction or Poetry to the Creative Writing Competition 2013. The final deadline for submissions is 31 August.
A: Has the Creative Writing Competition aided you writing career?
KN: Even just being selected for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2013 was a great boost to my confidence. It made me focus on completing things, it made me feel it was worth trying to get my writing out there as opposed to just writing for myself; it made me want to push myself more, and take my writing more seriously.
A: Why do you think writing competitions are important?
KN: The world of serious publishing seems to me, as for many beginner writers, so far away as to seem an impossibility. Writing competitions like the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition, which provide an opportunity for recognition and publication to unpublished writers, are hugely valuable as they give the new writer something to realistically aim for.
A: What tips do you have for emerging and aspiring writers?
KN: Write as frequently as possible; exercising your writing muscles is always a good thing, and every time you have the wisp of a great idea – catch it, write it down.
A: Which works by other people appealed to you most in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2012, and why?
KN: I especially enjoyed some of the poetry, in particular Sylvia Adams’ winning entry Water and Mike Absalom’s selected poem The Grave Digger’s Daughter. I love the rhythms and the densely packed meanings. I am not a “poetic” writer and would love to be. The story that stuck with me longest was Simple Present by Samuel Wright – it was so very easily readable, and managed a confessional style in a way that was tender but direct, never straying into cliché.
A: What inspires you as a writer?
KN: Poignant moments in real life; great storytellers; interesting dynamics between people. Most recently, reading the plaques in Postman’s Park in the City of London. These detail selfless acts of heroism by ordinary people dating back as far as the 1800s; moving and evocative, in less than 20 words each dedication is a complete story in itself.
A: Since winning the Creative Writing Competition last year with your short story A Cuckoo’s Broken Wing, what have you been working on?
KN: I’ve been experimenting with some different genres / styles of short story, focusing on improving my writing skills. I’ve also recently begun some research around the germ of an idea for a novel which has refused to go away – so we’ll see where that goes.
More information on the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition is available at www.aestheticamagazine.com/creativewriting
1. Image courtesy of Stephen Rees.