Home' LOTL : June 2011 Contents 16 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
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Aimee Said tackles issues of coming out and bullying in her
new novel Little Sister.
Growing up an avid reader, author Aimee Said has fond memories of trips to the local library as
a child and she cites her favourite present (then and now) as ‘ book vouchers”. Not surprising then
that she was to make a care er out of crafting fiction of her own...
Her fondest memories from childhood involve the whole family seated around the breakfa st table of a
Sunday morning , “My parents were reading the newspaper, my sister had the comics and I had a stack of
Little Golden Books. The room was silent except for the munching of toast and turning of pages – bliss...”
The first stor y she e ver remembers writing was in first grade. “I remember it clearly not because it was
well-written, (which it most certainly was not!) but because the class laughed when our teacher read it out
loud. It was my first ta ste of how satisfying entertaining people through writing could be.”
Still, Said says that she never rea lly entertained the thought of a writing career until long after she’d
finished university and was working for a publisher. “ That rekindled my desire to write but also made
me realise how many people were trying to get their novels published, compared to how few succeeded.
When I began writing my first novel in 2006 it was with no expectation that it would ever make it to print.
I still have to pinch myself when I see my name on the spine of a real-life book!”
Her first novel, Finding Freia Lockhart prove d successful with teen readers for its themes of friendship,
acceptance and identity and her follow up work Little Sister once ag ain tackles similar issues, however this
time Said has turned her focus on coming out and the plight of LGBTQ youth.
Pretty meaty issues for a teen novel... Still, artists are often considered to have a social responsibility to
not only create but educate, yet Said believes her first responsibility is to her readers, no matter the subject.
“I don’t deliberately write ‘issues’ books; my subject matter reflects my own concerns and interests. I
don’t feel any duty to write about these thing s or to present a cer tain view of them, but I do hope that
my books get readers thinking about their feelings and reactions to what the characters are g oing
through. One thing I am conscious of is tr ying to end my books on a positive note – I want my read-
ers to be left feeling optimistic about life’s possibilities, not despondent.”
Said says her inspiration to tackle issues of homophobia and coming out within the plot of Little
Sister were inspire d by her own sister. “When my older sister wa s in Year 12, I couldn’t ma ke a sound
in my bedroom without her complaining ! In comparison to that drama, her coming out a couple of
years later was pretty uneventful, for me anyway.” But she acknowledges that “it wasn’t hard to imag -
ine how thing s might have been different, espe cially for someone who’s still at school”.
“You only have to watch the news or read the paper to know that bullying is a huge problem, par-
ticularly for same-sex attracted young people....Presenting these issues in fiction is one way to begin
eng aging about them.
“For me, the main messa ge of the book is that you shouldn’t be afra id to stand up for what you
believe in. It’s an a ge-old problem that we play silent witness to people being treated badly because we
don’t want that negative attention to turn on us, but unless we stand up to bullies – at school, in the
workplace, on the bus, wherever we see it – things will never change.”
Aimee Said’s novel Little Sister is out now.
Come out, come out
wherever you are...
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