Q&A with Lily Cameron

A grey background image with the cover of The Suburban Review #23 PUNCTURE, and an image of Lily Cameron. Lily has dark hair in a messy mullet-shaped cut. Lily is sitting at a wooden table, writing in a notebook, and smiling at the camera. She has several simple arm tattoos, and wears a sheer black tshirt and a checkered pink, blue and yellow pinafore or overalls. Underneath her picture is written 'Lily Cameron', and smaller writing under that reads, 'New Issue Out Now, thesuburbanreview.com'

LILY CAMERON is a writer and editor working on unceded Gadigal Land. She is a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) student at UTS whose work focuses on simple representative moments, often exploring queer identities and experiences. Her writing has appeared in Cordite, Voiceworks, UTS Writers’ Anthology, The Brag, and elsewhere.

Our Deputy Editor, Erin McFadyen, talks to Lily Cameron about her fiction piece ‘Queenspotting’ published in #23: Puncture.

One thing that really strikes me about your piece ‘Queenspotting’ is the way that its protagonist oscillates between these moments of taut self-control and the acknowledgement of desires which threaten this studied stability. Can you tell me a little of how you went about finding or creating this character?

The protagonist in ‘Queenspotting’, Melina, is all about control. She came out of a re-reading session of Sylvia Plath’s bee poems, as I thought about what the speaker of those poems would have been like if she had more agency and less fear. To me, Melina’s controlling nature comes out of her deep desire to find order in the natural world. And then, with Aisha’s new presence in her life, that desire changes to one of being controlled, of relinquishing power to this superior being. Her character embodies these two conflicting desires, which in our current moment feel so relatable.

‘Queenspotting’ feels, to me, as if it partakes of many genres at once; it feels realist, speculative, so many other things. Does genre (or, perhaps, the defiance of it) play a role in your writing practice more broadly?

I’m definitely interested in texts, both fiction and non-fiction, that resist traditional classification. I was inspired by the genre-bending and complex queer characters of writers like Carmen Maria Machado and Jeanette Winterson in ‘Queenspotting’. So much of being queer to me is rejecting or pushing back against long-held beliefs and constraints – it’s a joy to be able to do that in fiction as well. In my creative non-fiction writing, I like to explore this genre-bending more through form than substance, but it’s a challenge and a pleasure in both.

Do you have any other projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m in the middle of my Master’s at UTS at the moment, and have been privileged enough to receive some invaluable insights from the teaching staff and students there. I’m currently working on essays exploring the intersection of em/bodiment and identity, as well as taking the first steps on the exciting and daunting process of a manuscript. The best way to keep up to date with me and my work is via lilycameron.co.