In this special City of Fremantle Hungerford Award podcast, Jay Martin and Julie Sprigg get to grips with writing narrative non-fiction
We’re celebrating 30 years of the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award this year by bringing together Jay Martin, author of Vodka and Apple Juice: Travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland, and Julie Sprigg, author of Small Steps: A Physio in Ethiopia. Jay won the Award in 2016 and Julie was shortlisted for it in 2018.
The pair talk about the genre of travel memoir, and how their novels fall into the category of ‘narrative non-fiction’, a book that’s based on truth but adapted into the flow of a novel. Jay says that she had to make difficult decisions on how to write about the things that really happened to her and the people in her story, and Julie agrees, saying that some stories weren’t her own, and she was cognisant of her privilege of being able to tell these stories, especially if they involved trauma.
Speaking about her debut book, out this month, Julie says she wasn’t prepared for the culture shock of living in Ethiopia, where she had to relearn how to do everything from the way she brushed her teeth to how she ate her dinner. She said she was naïve enough to believe that her experience of backpacking alone in London and South America as well as working extensively with asylum seekers would prepare her for her time in Africa.
Jay and Julie end the podcast with great advice for those starting out on the writing journey, and have provided a list of resources in the show notes.
Vodka and Apple Juice: Travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland (Fremantle Press) by Jay Martin was the winning manuscript of the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award in 2016. It’s available in all good bookstores and online. You can chat to Jay on Twitter @jaymartinwrites.
Small Steps: A Physio in Ethiopia (Fremantle Press) by Julie Sprigg was shortlisted for the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award in 2018. It’s available in all good bookstores and online. You can chat to Julie on Facebook @julie.sprigg.writer, Instagram @juliesprigg and Twitter @sprigg_julie.
Alone: A Love Story by Michelle Parise (A memoir podcast)
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr (HarperCollins)
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
Julie Sprigg attended one of the workshops hosted by KSP Writers’ Centre, called Perfectly Polished: How to Get Your Final Draft Ready to Send to a Publisher
This resulted in a mentorship with the workshop host, Dr Anna Solding
‘The danger of a single story’, a TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from The Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar
Sponsored by the Copyright Agency Limited Cultural Fund