When Kylie Brusaschi decided to study writing she was faced with a dilemma.
The 32-year-old had always been passionate about the creative word, having written poetry for more than 15 years.
Kylie considered a creative writing degree at Melbourne University, but instead she opted for Melbourne Polytechnic’s new Bachelor of Writing and Publishing degree. “I wanted to do something practical and industry-based, something that would give me a good chance of getting a job,” she says. “I also liked the idea of being part of this degree because it was new. When it grows and becomes something amazing in 10 years, I’d like to say I was part of that when it started.”
Now in her 3rd year, Kylie says the course has given her a broad overview of the industry and helped her to see new possibilities. “It’s helped me think about self-publishing and realise there are things I can do like e-books to publish my writing.” The course also helped her make decisions about future career options, like starting her own publishing business when she finishes her course. “I’d like to do something like a radical feminist magazine with no ads and no fashion”.
Kylie, who is a native of Bridgetown in WA, has been creating and publishing her own zines for years. In Melbourne she discovered shops like Sticky and Polyester that could sell her publications for her. She’s since been on a roll, publishing three zines in recent months, to strong demand. “I’m calling them impressionistic zines,” she says of titles like Exit Platitudes and Spectrum Elastica. They’ve got sketches and inky drawings with blocks of text.”
As part of her degree, Kylie is studying a broad range of subjects from creative writing to publishing and digital age theory. “It’s challenging for me because I want to do creative stuff all the time yet here I am doing all this industry-based stuff. You have to make time to do your own thing.” Pushing her boundaries has also opened up new avenues within the industry. “I was pretty anti-non-fiction. But the course has opened up my ideas about it. It’s not just journalism and that rigid reporting stuff. I’ve always been focussed on what’s going on in the imagination side of things.”
She says studying at Melbourne Polytechnic has given her more confidence in her writing ability because classmates critique each other’s writing. “If you don’t get any feedback you’re in a one-dimensional world so I really value that,” she says. “It’s a really nurturing environment, very caring and intimate. There’s a nice vibe here.”
Bachelor of Writing and Publishing