This week we talk to Julie U’Ren about ‘Detained’ which appears in Time, the latest Microlit anthology edited by Cassandra Atherton and published in 2018 by Spineless Wonders. In this interview, Julie talks about her approach to writing microlit, what she is reading right now and her favourite time of year for putting pen to paper

  1. Tell us about the inspiration behind your microlit for the Time anthology.

I’d been visiting some asylum seekers at Wickham Point detention centre, close to Darwin.  I was deeply affected by meeting these men (and it was usually men) who’s lives were in limbo and futures were unknown.

  1. When it comes to microlit, do you generally start wide and then cut down or do you always plan to write a particular piece as microlit?

It depends really. The piece I wrote for the Time anthology was cut down from a longer piece and I think it actually works better as microlit.

  1. How do you balance reading time with writing time? And tell us about the book/s you are reading at the moment.

I wish I could read faster as I have so much I want to read!  At the moment I’m reading, ‘Songlines and Fault Lines; Epic walks of the Red Centre’, by Glenn Morrison.  I love that it connects the reader to the history and how newcomers and Aboriginal people relate to the landscape of Central Australia.  I was recently in a whisky bar in Melbourne, as well as whisky they had a great collection of books by Irish writers- so I have just discovered John McGahern and am reading his Collected Stories.  My own writing is a daily practice that happens around life, work and family.

  1. What is your favourite season? Do you prefer to write in winter or summer and why?

Darwin is a tropical city and it’s hot all year around.  I particularly love the wet season though, when the monsoons come the temperature drops and everything is wet and alive.  Writing can just happen anytime; an encounter, observation or a character can spark something I want to explore.

JULIE U’REN returned to the Northern Territory after living for many years in Central Victoria.  She is curious about how place and people can change us and explores this in her writing.  She has been a finalist in the 2016 & 2107 NT Literary Awards.  Julie lives in Darwin.