Meet our Creative Writing students

Flinders Creative Writing Students Abby guy and Harrison Stewart


The Flinders Festival of Creative Arts is in full swing. Day 2 of the Festival, Tuesday 15 November, brings you the event Launching Last Call in which the Creative Writing students will be launching a collection of short stories – Last Call: We’re Dying for a Drink – and the Flinders Drama Centre students will be bringing them to life on stage.

To give you an idea of who studies in this field, we caught up with Creative Writing students Harry Stewart and Abby Guy.

Harry Stewart

Harry’s passion was first sparked by his late grandfather reading bedtime stories to him and his siblings as a child. “From there I moved straight to writing out my own stories about Knights and Dragons, Kings and Queens. But it wasn’t until I was eighteen that I started writing my first full-length novel which is still yet to be completed”, Harry tells us.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a massive source of inspiration to Harry in his early years. “His continent of Middle-earth allowed him to escape into the world of fantasy. But now it’s more nuanced than that. My primary tutors Dr Sean Williams and Dr Amy T Matthews are now a new source of inspiration for me, their work ethic, success in publication, and mentorship has shaped my newfound view of our industry and its endless possibilities post-graduation.”

Harry is excited about the upcoming book launch, “‘Last Call’ is definitely my proudest piece of work to date. It was such a massive undertaking, and the finished product is polished and receiving really good reviews!

“Even though my authorial contribution was a short story; everything we did behind the scenes contributed to it being such a genuinely magical experience. That being said, my completed Honours Thesis, ‘Traversing Tolkien’s World; experiencing racism on the page,’ is also something I hold quite dear to the heart.”

With his own University experience being so positive, Harry now aspires to work at Flinders himself, “I have a newfound appreciation for everything the Flinders staff do for students and after spending this year focusing on research, I have found a passion for exploring theoretical concepts in writing.

“I also see myself creating and publishing throughout my career, I have a broad mind full of ideas that I think will make for brilliant books. Flinders has prepared me for my onward journey by allowing me the opportunity to have mentors that are practising professionals.

“We have been given a unique insight into our industry, led by tutors that both teach and publish books with a multitude of publishers. Through the latest staff lead initiative, Flinders has also funded the next three years of publications for the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) graduates, ensuring that writers leaving Flinders have their names within a published book when they step out into the real world.

“I can just advise current and prospective students to keep reading and writing. It sounds so repetitive, and I bet prospective writing students hear this a lot, but it’s the truth. Writing is like any skill; it needs to be consistently honed through practice.

“Read widely, understand the market and what is trending, and what isn’t. However, these things seem like relaxation to many writers, so annotate as you go. This helps to evolve your writing and shapes your understanding of genre, punctuation and style.

“My other tip would be to use the resources available on campus. Spend time there, connect with your peers and share your work with each other (when comfortable). My Creative Writing cohort was incredibly welcoming, and through it, I have a group of friends that have been by my side all the way through my Honours, and now hopefully into my PhD. I wish that to every future Creative Writing student.”

Abby Guy

Abby’s interest in writing came up when she was very young, “I have always read, and I specifically re-call hiding under the blankets at six years old with a plastic, battery operated torch and a copy of Eragon that I was reading instead of sleeping.

“I devoured books as a child and read as much as I could, and this inevitably led me to writing. I wrote and illustrated my own ‘books’ when I was little – I still have stacks of old, English notebooks from my primary school years which are filled with short stories and unfinished novels.

“I distinctly remember a creative piece for NAPLAN in grade 5 that I enjoyed writing so much that I went home that afternoon and immediately picked up where I had left off in the test to write down everything that I hadn’t been able to fit on the page.

“I think that is when I first realised just how much I wanted to write. I explored other career options during High School, but I always came back to writing, and that is where I have stayed.” 

Asked about whom she draws inspiration from, Abby finds it difficult to pinpoint a specific author as she reads so much and widely. “When I was younger Maggie Stiefvater was often my go-to. Her writing of myth and fantasy is so immersive that the worlds she creates feel tangible and real, and this has impacted my affinity for world-building when I write. I also chew through any book or author that uses dragons, which is reflected in my work.

“I believe, though, that a lot of my inspiration comes from outside of books and writing itself. I am inspired by the creative people that I meet in the industry, such as tutors and supervisors (both Dr Amy T. Matthews and Dr Sean Williams are incredible authors and people), but mostly my fellow students, and now postgraduates.

“My degree in Creative Writing has helped me meet the most amazing, encouraging, and diverse group of up-and-coming authors, writers, creators, and friends. By working alongside other creatives, who often write in genres or styles I am unfamiliar with, I’ve been encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things when it comes to writing. The Creative Arts community at Flinders inspires me the most.

Just like Harry, Abby is also proudest of the Flinders Creative Writing Anthology, Last Call, which was published through Glimmer Press. “I have written work in the anthology, but I am most proud of the time that was spent behind the scenes on the project.

“I was lucky to be heavily involved in the editing process, the design, the marketing, and now the postage and launch. All these aspects have taught me so much about the publishing and writing industry that I would have never known before, and I’m proud of the effort that not only I put into it, but the colleagues that worked with me, too, to ensure its success.

“I’m hoping to continue my study with Flinders and complete a PhD in Creative Writing. I would love to eventually call myself a full-time author, but I’m also keen to pursue teaching and editing, and see where those pathways may lead me.

“I’m exploring quite a few avenues in the creative industry at the moment (such as graphic design for book covers, too) but I’m content focusing on my PhD goal at present. I’ve enjoyed postgraduate life so much that I fear I’ll become an eternal student!

“Studying Creative Writing at Flinders has improved my writing beyond what I could have imagined. It has enabled me to meet and learn from industry professionals who have been nothing less than encouraging and supportive as I improve and grow.

“I have made life-long friends who I have no doubt will become connections in the future, whether that be in editing, publishing, writing, or elsewhere. Thanks to Dr Amy T. Matthews, we wrote Last Call in the final year of our Bachelor degree, and I have proudly emerged as a published author.

“I have also recently completed an internship with Dr Lynette Washington at the local South Australian publisher, Glimmer Press, as part of my Honours degree. This has been a priceless connection and experience: I was involved in editing, marketing, design, slush pile reading, and industry events. It was very rewarding and has prepared me for the continual journey that I hope to take in the publishing and editing industries.”

Abby clearly states she is not an extrovert, but the things that she has said yes to – writing outside her comfort zone, meeting new people, attending events and conferences, taking onboard new jobs and an internship – are what has helped her grow in both her career and in her writing.

“There are many times that I could have said no and stayed where I was comfortable (in my bed, with a book), but there are opportunities and experiences that I am grateful for now that I would have missed out on if I had said no then.

“I also think it’s important to know that it’s okay to fail – especially in the creative writing industry – but to also be willing to keep trying regardless. I’m notorious for holding myself to high expectations and feeling unsatisfied if I don’t meet them, but it’s the willingness to try something and fail that has inevitably helped me improve my writing. Say yes and keep trying.”

Come along to the Creative Writing event

See what Harry and Abby have been working on during their Honours year and join the book launch of Last Call during the Flinders Festival of Creative Arts.

Register now for Launching Last Call.

Order your copy of Last Call.


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