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Erin Gough is a fiction writer whose award-winning short stories have been published in a number of journals and anthologies. Her novel for young adults, The Flywheel, won the Ampersand Prize and was published by Hardie Grant Egmont in 2015.
My previous jobs include market researcher, web content manager and Sydney Morning Herald columnist. As well as writing, I currently work as a policy lawyer.
When I was a young adult, there wasn’t much fiction written for my age group that featured non-heterosexual characters. I was trying to work out who I was and what I wanted to be, and I felt this absence keenly. It is therefore important to me to write characters that don’t necessarily comply with sexual or gender norms. My writing questions notions of identity, explores the themes of understanding and acceptance, and celebrates individuality and community.
Winning the Ampersand Prize for new Young Adult Fiction for The Flywheel was pretty amazing. My writing has also given me the opportunity to travel to some wonderful places, such as Istanbul, where I undertook a writing residency. The best thing though, has been the chance to interact with young readers who connect with the stories I’ve written.
Representing diversity in my fiction and in doing so, helping young people imagine a positive future for themselves. Currently only a handful of books for young adults featuring LGBTI characters are published in Australia each year, even though a significant proportion of school students identify as something other than straight. Being LGBTI in Australia can be a tough gig, especially for young people. We have discriminatory laws, and many young people suffer harassment and violence as a result of their sexual identity. It is vitally important that when they look to fiction being written for their age group, they don’t feel excluded from that as well.
You can find out more about me on my website, Twitter and Facebook.
An interview for Kill Your Darlings on the lack of LGBTI characters in Australian youth literature The Art of Influence: On Writing The Flywheel