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Simmone Howell is an award-winning internationally published writer. She has written books, plays, screenplays, poetry, comic scripts, advertorials, speeches, shopping lists, blurbs, glossaries and legends. In addition to writing she teaches creative writing, mapping and journaling workshops for young people and adults. Her YA novels are: Notes from the Teenage Underground, Everything Beautiful, Girl Defective and Take Three Girls (September 2017 with Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood).
What are your writing workshops like?
In my writing workshops I use a lot of different creative prompts (much like in my writing life) – I might use music or objects or maps. I love to look at other people’s techniques, particularly surrealist techniques like using cut ups and collage, or black out poetry or ekphrasia (writing from pictures). I am keen on DIY publishing and collect zines from all over. I also love using old stories as ‘skeletons’ – seeing what fictional layers students can put over the top of them. I love the idea that art is all about ‘making strange’ – good writing gives us something familiar and makes us see it in a new way.
What other jobs have you had?
I’ve worked as a creative writing teacher and a book shop and record shop flunky; as a transcriber; a waitress (short-lived); a farm hand (even shorter-lived); a script coordinator; a small press publisher; a door bitch and a data entry operator. Being a writer is my favourite job.
What are you passionate about?
I love words and word people. I love discovering new old artists, books, movements. I’m fascinated by creative people and their processes. I think that if art was given as much attention and respect as sport in this country we’d have a far more empathic and innovative society.
What themes are recurring in your work?
I write about teenage subcultures, outsiders, social heirarchies, feminism, art, music, risk-taking, the trying on of difference ‘selves’ and how we make ourselves up.
What have been the highlights of your career?
i feel very lucky as my writing has allowed me to travel and stay in strange and wonderful places: a houseboat in Sausalito, a roundhouse in Norfolk and a villa in Kefalonia. Having my short story made into the short film Pity 24 was amazing. The film played around the world at places like the Barbican in London, the LA shortsfest, the Berlin Film Festival and the Don’t Knock the Rock Film Music Festival in LA. I also had a short story adapted into a play – Xylophone – that was a finalist in the Short and Sweet short play festival. Seeing my novels published around the world is pretty cool – in Amsterdam my novel Notes from the Teenage Underground was published as ‘Kunst, Baby’! Co-writing Take Three Girls with OZYA writers Fiona Wood and Cath Crowley has has been a highlight – co-writing is definitely an area I’d like to explore further.
Where have your works been published?
Here, the US, UK, Brazil, Germany, Denmark … in little journals and big newspapers and on the sidewalks of St Kilda.
I just wanted to thank you for recommending Simmone Howell – she has been absolutely fantastic on the site! She got the feel of the website straight away and it has been fantastic reading her posts.