I began this book on a very low energy day. I was sprawled across my bed in the early morning sun, procrastinating some task I didn’t want to do that would make possible other tasks I did want to do, as is the way with most tasks. Tess McCabe’s Conversations with Creative Women flipped my lethargic mindset on its head. These women are seriously inspirational! They’ve all worked their arses off to get to where they are, often while supporting families, and have made endless sacrifices for what they love. Their stories vary in creative pursuit; from comedian to copywriter, landscape designer to letter. Each of these women has her own story to tell, and in gorgeous colour format with pretty pictures (!!!), here is the place to read them.

As a very easy pick-up, put-down read, this book travelled with me wherever I went for a couple weeks. It mostly got read on public transport and I am forever grateful for the company of these women in some of my roughest weeks yet. Tess McCabe’s style is authentically conversational while still retaining the interview format which is tough to do when these interviews seem to have been conducted in written format. Interview is a genre that’s easy to consume but hard to master and McCabe seems to have hit the nail on the head, really letting the interviewees speak about their journeys, never interrupting to speak for them, and it truly lets the artistry of the women involved shine. I’ve written interviews and reviews that leave no taste in the mouth, bitter or sweet, but these on the other hand glow with the vibrant energy of the women interviewed. They have such vivacious identities, partly influenced by their lives as artists and as women, and they are a joy to read.

My favourite story, super hard to pick, is probably comedian Alex Ward’s. As someone who could call herself a creative I’m really intrigued by her approach to creativity, and as she’s at a similar age and stage to me I think I related to her the most. I’ll leave it to you to read her story but she’s down to earth, and on her way up so look out for her at Fringe Fests across Australia.

The most encouraging part of this book, reiterated across the stories, is the LACK of sexism these women have encountered in their fields. This is incredible! The times are a-changin’! While a few stories did mention misogynistic attitudes they have butted heads with, sexism does seem to be on the decrease, and this is a book by a women about women; how far we have come.

These stories are simple, but inspiring beyond belief when the reader realises they too can take steps to accomplishing their dreams. These women are human, they stepped out in faith; in their ability and in their support systems to catch them if they fell and they have thrived because of it. If you’re struggling at all to believe you can achieve these stories are for you. Take some time for self care, spread yourself out in the sun, and soak it all in.

Katie Bennet

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is the second-oldest student publication in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you like having opinions, writing, drawing, and/or free tickets to local events, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

One thought on “REVIEW: Conversations with Creative Women”
  1. Thank you Katie for your lovely review of my book – I’m so glad it made an impact on you! Alex is a gem and I know she will go far in her creative career. And you’re right: it’s hard to pick a favourite amongst all the interviewees 😉

    All the best,

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