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Erin Gough is a Sydney-based writer whose first YA novel, The Flywheel, won Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Prize. The Flywheel was published in the US as Get it Together, Delilah! and in Germany, and was shortlisted for the CBCA’s Book of the Year for Older Readers and the Centre for Youth Literature’s Gold Inky. It was also named a White Raven International Youth Library title. Her second YA novel, Amelia Westlake, was published in 2018 and won the Readings YA Book Prize.
Erin’s award-winning short stories have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies including Best Australian Stories, The Age, Overland, Southerly and Going Down Swinging. Erin is a past recipient of the Varuna Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction and an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship.
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