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"I'm going to be a writer!"

To mark Youth Week Grace Jarvis, winner of the Queensland Theatre Companies Young Playwright Award, writes about her experience as a young writer.

It turns out, that one of the most impermeable challenges that come with being a ‘young writer’ is introduced to you in the very title. Being young, in general, means that a percentage of the population assumes you are without self-control, experience, morality and that you have very little idea of what you are doing. Which could be true. As a young writer, using my formative years to soak up as much knowledge, literature and movie quotes as I can, I am inspired by the undeniably obvious fact proven by so many of the world’s public figures, that being incompetent is in no way a reason not to speak your mind and that knowing what you are doing is in no way a pre-requisite for success.

In writing Titus Was Here, I was lucky enough to be mentored by some big believers in the talent of youth. Ari Palani and the Empire Theatre’s IMPACT ensemble 2015, inspired and supported my writing to such an extent that I left on closing night with not only compliments for my actors ringing in my ears, but such an elated boost to my self-esteem that a dormant passion for my work sprung up. A passion that was only further enriched by the wonderful people at Queensland Theatre Company and winning the Young Playwright’s Award. Walking out of that building clutching a bound copy of my ‘debut script’ and buzzing with more words of encouragement and faith in my writing than I thought was possible to receive, I inwardly decided, “I’m going to be a writer!” Later, when I outwardly decided this with my parents, who changed pages in the QTAC guide with trepidation, I realised that this decision was perhaps not sending me on the easiest route.

As I approach the mid semester mark of my first year in a creative industries degree, I am coming to terms with the fact that being young can be at times a handicap to the perceived legitimacy of your writing, but it also provides a distinct advantage to the freedom in your work. You are allowed to write uncensored and uninhibited. So do it! My observation of adulthood is that it invokes huge bouts of social etiquette and inhibitions; that it involves talking to people you don’t like and awkwardly avoiding uncomfortable truths to keep people happy. As a ‘young writer’ I say write about what makes you angry and what makes you sad, while you’re still young enough to get away with it. If it’s not good or your message isn’t clear or you don’t like the tone or the style or the format, try again. Embrace your youth and don’t let the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing affect your passion for writing.


Grace JarvisGrace Jarvis is an 18 year old Brisbane-based QUT student in the throes of an arts degree based existential crisis. Her first play Titus Was Here, based on William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and her experience in small town private schooling, was awarded the Queensland Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights award in 2015. Find her on twitter @grace4jarvis and Instagram @ngaiogracejarvis







Images courtesy of Grace Jarvis.