Freelancer of the Month - 9th November 2020

UP & GO Writer’s Grant Winner, Stephanie Gavan

Stephanie Gavan is a writer from Liverpool, who is currently based in London where she is part of the Royal College of Art’s MA Writing cohort for 2019-2021. Stephanie writes about visual art, subcultures, cities, magic and social class, and also produces audio work for podcasts and radio.

Stephanie is the Winner of the UnderPinned UP & GO Writer’s Grant 2020 and was commended on her brilliant UP Portfolio by our Judge Sian Meades-Williams, who said:
What’s particularly impressive with this portfolio is how clear Stephanie’s voice is. There are common threads throughout her work – the ordinary made interesting. I kept reading more. I really like the originality in her work.

View Stephanie’s UnderPinned Portfolio Here

When did your freelance journey begin?

It’s been about two years now. Things were slow at first, I was still figuring out what kind of writer I was, but that becomes clearer with each piece, it’s just a matter of consistency, I think.

When did you learn to become a writer?

I’m still learning! In 2018 I took a free course run by a brilliant Liverpool organisation Writing on the Wall. They taught me the practical stuff – how to pitch, how much to charge, where to look for opportunities. Then in 2019, I applied for the MA Writing programme at the RCA, which has been really helpful in giving me structure and time to develop. Mainly though, just through years of reading and keeping notebooks.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I wanted to be a visual artist originally, but during my BA in Fine Art, I kept prioritising words. I was reading all the time and my sketchbook was flooded with passages from books, half-formed poems, stories. The thing I loved about making art was the thrill of making connections between different things to create something new. As I was exposed to more experimental writing, I realised you could do this with words too, and it came much more naturally.

Who have been your favourite clients to work with?

I just did a piece for Corridor8 who are great to work with. They have a really interesting model and offer great editorial support.

Who are the biggest influences over your work?

There are so many. The writers I always return to are Anne Boyer, Maggie Nelson and Mark Fisher. But I’m influenced by all sorts of things – artists, musicians, cities, football. Does Jurgen Klopp count as an influence?

What message do you try to say with your writing?

Each piece is different, but the common thread for me is uncovering a sense of magic in every day.

What is your favourite piece in your portfolio?

My interview with Mark Leckey, probably. I love his work, and there are a lot of thematic overlaps between his interests and mine; social class, magic, the clash of the ancient and the contemporary. Getting to discuss all of those things with Mark himself was pretty special.

What tips do you have for aspiring freelance writers?

– Learn how to pitch and keep doing it, don’t be too discouraged by rejection, it’s usually nothing personal.
– Keep all your throw-away ideas in a google doc, they always come in handy for future pieces.
– Read often and widely!

What are your goals for the future?

I’ve recently started writing a book, so completing that is my main goal right now. In the future, I’d love to work with sound designers and actors in making new radio work, it’s such an underrated medium!

You can connect with Stephanie, as well as thousands of other freelancers, inside our Virtual Office and find everything you need to build your freelance career, from finding work, to managing your work, to getting paid.

We champion the freelancers and every entrepreneur who took a leap of faith with their idea.

If this sounds like you, head over to our Virtual Office and send us your best work via an UnderPinned Portfolio. We want to hear from you!

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