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NLCU Fresh Fish Award Shortlist Profile Series: Matthew Hollett

On Thursday, November 23, the winner of the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award will be announced. This week, we’re profiling the three talented WANL members who made the award’s shortlist.

Meet Matthew Hollett!

Tell us about yourself and the type of writing you do, or that interests you.
I write poetry and creative nonfiction. My background is in visual art, so I often respond to visual material in my writing, sometimes by writing poems about photographs, or including my own photographs in essays. My Optic Nerve book is about photography and seeing. I like to walk a lot, and sometimes write about landscape and history. My favourite writer right now is Robert Macfarlane.

When did you start writing?
In high school I spent a summer in rural Quebec as part of an exchange program. I kept a journal, and I think of that journal as when I really started writing. My journals from back then are a mishmash of drawings, collages and writing.

What inspires your writing and keeps you motivated?
Reading! I try to read a little every morning, before I do any computer stuff. My morning brain seems to really latch on to poetry, maybe because poems are kind of breakfast-sized.

How do you recharge your creative batteries?
The North Head Trail usually does a good job of clearing out my brain a bit!

Are there people and activities that have helped you advance your writing?
A couple of years ago I participated in the WANL Emerging Writers Mentorship Program, mentored by Mark Callanan. It was a great experience, and Mark really helped me focus this collection of poems and shape them into a book.

Any advice or recommendations for future submitters to Fresh Fish?
St. John’s in particular has such a welcoming writing community – take an evening creative writing class at MUN, go to readings and workshops, join a writing group, apply for the Mentorship Program! If you don’t live in town, you can take classes remotely, or start something in your own community.