Wombat Books Blog

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Keeping it short with Emily Larkin

LarkinEmilyCan you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you've been in the industry?

My mum read to me a lot when I was young, and I grew up with a love of reading, writing and animals. I studied Creative Writing at university in 2010, and loved being exposed to different types of stories. In 2012, I wrote the text and descriptions of images for a picture book as one of my assignments and, three years later, pitched this idea at the CYA Conference. I was thrilled when Wombat showed an interest in my story and Helene Magisson has created such beautiful illustrations for The Whirlpool!

Describe your typical work desk.

My work desk is usually cluttered with scribbles on paper, and pens that don't work that I've forgotten to throw away.

What makes the short story genre so special?

I think that short stories have a powerful capacity to illuminate character and capture a moment of change. In our busy lives, it is wonderful to be able to read something in one sitting that has a lingering influence.

Have you read anything that makes you think differently about fiction?

Chekhov is credited with the line: 'Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass'. I think that is beautifully evocative, and a reminder of why showing is often more impactful than telling in narrative.

What are some great examples of short stories, for anyone not familiar?

Some of my favourite short stories include Kaleidoscope (Ray Bradbury), Bullet in the Brain (Tobias Wolff), Singing my Sister Down (Margo Lanagan), No Is Yes (Paul Jennings), After the Strider, the Stranger (Mireille Juchau), and An Act of God (Gary Crew). These stories became reference points for me and stayed in my head long after I'd finished.

What is your favourite childhood book?

I know this is a popular choice, but I love the Harry Potter series! Rowling's magical world has everything ours does, from sport, to chocolate, school friendships and rivalries, homework, bigotry, tolerance, and love. I also grew up reading (and re-reading) Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series. Colfer's blend of magic and technology is clever and compelling; the banter between characters and the narrative's humour leaves me chuckling every time, and Artemis's emotional growth brings me back to the series again and again. Other childhood favourites include everything by Emily Rodda (what a legend!)

Describe your workshop for the Wombat Books Conference.

My workshop explores what makes a great short story, including structure, characterisation, dialogue, and editing. Participants will learn about the short story form by discussing exemplars, and be guided through writing exercises to hone their skills and share their work with others.

For more great workshops like Emily's, book your tickets for the conference now! Click the image below for more information.

Conference Tiles Short Stories

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