Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2013 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 1, 2013
The 46-year-old writer also found
validation last year in winning the
Small Axe Literary Competition and
completing a Masters of Fine Arts
Creative Writing programme at Lesley
University in Massachusetts, USA.
She was also featured in the New
Talent Showcase of the Bocas Lit Fest.
Yet, after all these accomplishments
Millar s cement isn t thoroughly dry.
"I m not convinced that this is
something I can live on. I have the
time and space to do this now, but
in terms of writing being viable I m
still not sure. I m still not published
Winning prizes has also brought
Millar some new-found attention
that the self-described "extroverted
introvert" is still coming to terms
"I really don t like being the centre
of attention. It s been good but it s
also been distracting because you
suddenly realise that so many people
expect different things from you and
it s very strange when you have a
story that goes out and leaves you
and you no longer have control over
it," she said.
The prize also put some of Millar s
doubts about her work at bay.
"Here (in T&T) you constantly
question yourself. It s a small country
and there s a lot of dialogue about
what constitutes national literature,
and who has the authority to write
that literature. To be judged by a
panel of judges that s so diverse was
real validation because they just get
what we re trying to do as emerging
"There s still an incredibly emo-
tional response to work in this society.
People don t quite know how to come
to work sometimes so the conversa-
tions about literature can be polarising
in a lot of ways and that s not doing
us any good at all."
Millar believes that media reports
can be polarising as well and sees lit-
erature as a way to perform a bal-
ancing act. She s currently developing
a novel from one of her early short
stories where the "anti-hero" will be
She said, "I m really fascinated by
the anti-hero. There are so many
characters here and people are either
glorified or villianised. That s what
the average person is getting in the
media everyday---glorification or vil-
lainy. And, I think that fiction has to
kind of fit a role to try and present
more rounded characters. It s not that
easy to point fingers at one person.
How do bad people get to where they
get to be? What makes them bad?
Are they 100 per cent bad, 90 per
cent bad, only a little bit bad?"
Having the time to examine these
and other questions through writing
is a new chapter in Millar s life. Grow-
ing up, Millar said she always wanted
"Anyone who loves to read would
want to write because of that entry
into another world---you literally walk
through the doors of an entirely dif-
ferent world. So from very early on
I remember wanting to try and recre-
In the late 1990s, Millar partici-
pated in creative writing workshops
with the late Wayne Brown. When
they were completed she "returned
to real life," however.
And it would be another 15 years---
after working in advertising, phar-
maceuticals and writing for maga-
zines---before she started writing
"Writers need a patron. Writers
need money and space. And I m very
lucky to have a supportive husband,
in the morning and find a job to make
car payments, like I did, I couldn t
do it. I just couldn t do it," she said.
Millar s return to writing, however,
has come at an opportune time. She
now sees herself as part of a "literary
revolution" in T&T and credits writers
like Barbara Jenkins and Alake Pilgrim
paving the way for her.
Social media has become imper-
ative to the revolution Millar is part
of and that s something she didn t
entirely realise when she started blog-
ging in 2007.
Millar envisions the local literary
movement as becoming more vibrant
and giving the public an alternative
way to see themselves. "I think the
more people that write, the better. I
think the more people that are pub-
lished, the better.
At the moment the only thing that
we have as a self-reflection is media
and that has to be having an impact
on the psyche of the country. So I
can only write my story but if the
stories are coming from all over the
country, it would become humanised.
I think that s the most important
thing. I think people really have to
learn to see the human being behind
all the stories that we hear."
To read Sharon Millar s piece, The
Whale House, which won the Com-
monwealth Short Story Prize, you
can visit Granta magazine online:
'Writers need a patron'
Continued from Page A33
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