My name is Erin Donohue. I am a fiction writer, poet and mental health advocate. I hold a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Creative Writing and a Graduate Diploma in Publishing, both from Whitireia New Zealand. Currently, I work as an editor and live in Wellington, New Zealand. »
My debut novel, Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong, draws heavily on my own experience with mental illness and was published in 2017 by Escalator Press. It was a finalist in two categories in the New Zealand Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards 2018.
You can purchase it from your local bookstore or online here.
Where it all began
I began keeping journals and writing short stories as a child. At the age of six, I, somewhat too eagerly, started writing my auto-biography, which speaks not only to my love of writing and my love of all stories – regardless of their size – but also the level of self-importance six-year-old Erin was feeling. It’s also very telling of my need to capture what was happening and what I was feeling, regardless of how insignificant or mundane it seemed. When I was a teenager, I filled several diaries with terrible, angsty poetry. Regardless of the stage of my life and what it brought with it, I was always writing.
When I look back now, I suppose my life was always pointing towards writing. As a child and teenager, I was focused on ballet and the ways in which I could make a future out of that. I had never considered anything else.
It’s changed the way I attend to those I teach. I cannot give it higher praise than that.Bernard Beckett, author of Genesis, on Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong
Where it got complicated
When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and anorexia. I had to quit dancing and drop several subjects at school because I was so unwell. I spent time in eating disorder in-patient treatment facilities and hospital. During these times, I found myself turning to writing to untangle my thoughts.
Despite how I never expected to survive high school, I finished in 2013. As I could no longer study dance, I felt so unprepared. Ballet had been my plan from the beginning. While in the waiting room of my psychologist’s office, I picked up Whitireia’s prospectus and found their writing programme.
And so began my recovery with a tangible goal – to do the writing course.
I now hold a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Creative Writing. During my degree, I still struggled with my mental illnesses. I completed half of my first year from inside an eating disorder clinic. I wrote two young adult manuscripts during my final two year and they draw heavily on my own experience with mental illness. One of my manuscripts was completed from a hospital bed, where I was on bed rest and under a 24-hour watch.
Where it started to come together
My writing has previously been featured in They Call Me Ink: Re-draw 15 and 4th Floor Literary Journal. After completing my writing degree, I undertook a Post-Graduate Diploma in Publishing, which I completed in 2017. I loved working intensely with words, both during the editing process of Trish Harris’s poetry collection My wide white bed and, of course, while editing and re-working my own novel. Currently, I am working as an editor and trying to work on my writing projects whenever I can.
Every school library should have a copy of this book.The Big Idea