Kathryn Heyman was the last Ambassador to speak, novelist and with a very sharp mind. After her speech I chatted to her over coffee and she was very thought provoking. In addition to her writing she teaches workshops and occasional mentoring. From my brief and fascinating encounter with her I would not recommend her for a shy author still finding their voice… perhaps because I think it’s important to write that self indulgent poetry without fear when finding your voice (which is very different to expecting that work to be published).
Once you’ve found your voice and are prepared to be properly challenged and made uncomfortable she’s fascinating, fearless, intelligent, will ask you hard questions and won’t let you wimp out on the answers. I can see why she’s very picky about who she mentors. After and while I was speaking to her I went through a rainbow of emotions… and then went back to the hotel and made the script stronger.
Kathryn Heyman had lots of interesting anecdotes she had to cut out as the next session was coming close upon us. Her nuggets of wisdom, swiftly distilled through my brain were:
- You will be rejected
- Keep writing, get it wrong, play, take risks
- Be motivated by the art
- There are many different approaches – experiment
- Trust your own voice
- Write, re-write
- Be brave, be humble
- Crucially, be foolish – you’ll make discoveries
So on that note, may you all do something brave and something humble this week… no not sometime… this week… go on… and if you can, let me know how it goes. I love adventures of all shapes and sizes (except the mean ones).
lots of love