Celebrating Our OGA Authors And Publishers

Celebrating Our OGA Authors And Publishers

This month during book week, we decided to celebrate some of our Old Girls who are authors and publishers. Their personal stories were displayed in the library alongside a copy of their book. Take some time to read the journey taken by some of our talented alumni.

Ailsa Piper (1976)

Author of “Sinning Across Spain” (2012) and “The Attachment: Letters From A Most Unlikely Friendship” (2017).

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer?

Ailsa’s passion for storytelling led her into theatre, and she even spent three years on Ramsey Street as part of the Neighbours’ cast, as well as writing scripts for radio and stage. Ailsa is a frequent moderator of conversations and panels, and she writes journalism and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. She has now been in the industry for 35 years.

Have any life experiences impacted your works?

Completing a 1300km pilgrimage across Spain has definitely impacted her works. Her first book, Sinning Across Spain, is based on this journey where she was ‘walking with sin’. This was a medieval notion she stumbled on while researching a script for Bell Shakespeare Company. That journey, hard enough physically and mentally, took all her resilience and fortitude, asking her to walk daily with the failings, transgressions and ‘sins’ that others had confessed to her when she put out her crazy call on her blog – ‘I Will Walk Off Your Sins.’

What genre of writing do you enjoy most?

Describing herself as a storyteller, she enjoys writing about her experiences the most.

What is your biggest life achievement to date?

Being named co-winner of the Patrick White Playwright’s Award for her script Small Mercies in 2001; publishing her first book Sinning Across Spain in 2012; and writing and performing an episode of ABC radio’s Poetica programme, based on that book.

Andrea Powell (1984) 

Author of Strain Your Gherkins (2007)

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer?

After studying Theatre Arts at Curtin University I moved to Melbourne and began writing and performing comedy because it was easier than waiting for a call for an acting job. The work grew and I loved it. I was asked to write and perform comedy sketches for radio and I had that particular job for 13 years. I’ve written 15 live shows/plays. I’ve performed many times for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and done tours all over the country. In 2007 Penguin Publishers offered me a book deal to write a comedy manual as my character Ethel Chop. I’ve acted in numerous TV shows. I now teach comedy writing for television at RMIT University.

Have any life experiences impacted your works?

Being hungry and poor certainly had a propensity to make me work harder. You have to be tough to be a comedian because there are a lot of knockbacks. It’s not for the faint-hearted!

What genre of writing do you enjoy the most?

Character comedy – it’s my forte and I love it, especially dysfunctional characters.

What is your biggest life achievement to date?

Performing at the Edinburgh Festival was one, my book deal another. I’ve won a few awards but I think the biggest achievement is yet to come.

Tammy Tansley (1988) 

Author of Do What You Say You’ll Do (2015 ) and Enterprise Agreements Made Easy (2016) 

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer?

Like many young kids, I wrote stories when I was little. I come from five generations of writers, so it was in my blood. When I was at school at Santa Maria, I loved writing and loved English. I had the odd poem and short story published in the newspaper. I first started writing “professionally” when I moved to London. I started to write for industry publications about people related issues. When I moved back to Perth many years later, I started my own blog, which 8 years later is still going strong. The more I wrote, the more I had to write! It is a great way of getting clarity around what you believe, and what’s important to you.

Have any life experiences impacted your works?

I have travelled extensively, so bringing different perspectives has always been important. I am passionate about my work, so write about it in a simple, down to earth way that hopefully inspires people to think about things differently. I spent a lot of my early career in industrial relations, so I am keen to help people understand that there is a way to disagree that can be productive, and that conflict isn’t always bad.

What genre of writing do you enjoy the most?

I mainly write in the business and personal growth space. When I was younger I liked to write poetry.

What is your biggest life achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date is building a life that allows me to fulfil my passion for what I do; write and have time to be with my two beautiful daughters. I relish the freedom and flexibility that comes with being able to have many different aspects to my working and personal life. It also allows me to give back in whatever way I can and pay it forward.

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