How Australian writing contributes to conversations about chronic illness || September’s blogger is Katerina Bryant

Katerina Bryant is a nonfiction writer based in South Australia. Her work has appeared in Griffith Review, The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, Southerly, Island Magazine and Voiceworks, amongst others. She has also recently been anthologised in the collection ‘Balancing Acts: Women in Sport’ (Brow Books 2018). She tweets @katerina_bry.

You can read some of her other published work here:


What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished Sam Twyford-Moore’s essay collection The Rapids: Ways of Looking at Mania which was thought-provoking and structurally compelling. I’m about to pick up Sarah Sentilles’ Draw Your Weapons. It has been on my shelf waiting to be read since I saw her speak Adelaide Writers Week earlier this year.

Who is your favourite Australian writer and why? 

What a cruel question: to have to choose! Fiona Wright, Maxine Beneba-Clarke and Elizabeth Harrower’s work has inspired and guided me for years now. Fellow South Australian, Rebekah Clarkson has been my favourite writer of 2018. Her debut Barking Dogs has stayed with me since I had the pleasure of reading it and I thrust it into the hands of everyone I meet.

Are you working on a bigger project at the moment? 

I’ve recently finished a manuscript on my experience of chronic illness and the origins and treatments of hysteria, particularly focusing on Paris’ Salpêtrière Hospital in the nineteenth century. Writing it happened very quickly and was an intense process, so I’m now trying to take a breath for the rest of the year.

What does your writing tend to focus on, and will that also be the subject of your blogging? 

I view writing as my way to understand the complexities of lives I have and haven’t lived. So, often my writing is far-reaching—I’ve yoyo’d from writing about hunting feral pigs to mental illness to my recent obsession, women clowns. It seems the only consistency in my work is that it’s nonfiction.

For Southerly, I’m excited to be blogging about illness and how Australian writing is contributing to the overall conversation around living with chronic illness. I’m particularly interested in how genre informs illness so I’ll be focusing on essay collections, poetry and fiction.