Hello! My name is Sophia, and I’m honoured to be the Operations Associate Producer for the Independent Publishing Conference for 2020. I’ll be helping to oversee the production of this year’s online conference, and working on the delivery of SPN’s 2020 Book of the Year Award.
I grew up in Sydney and moved to Melbourne when I was 18. Like so many before me, I fell in love with Melbourne’s vibrant creative communities, its flat, sprawling streets, even its bone-cold winters.
I’ve always been a diehard literature fan, endlessly fascinated by fiction and poetry in all their boundless forms. At the University of Melbourne I majored in literature and philosophy. For my Honours thesis in literature, I somehow managed to combine two of my favourite (ostensibly incomparable) literary areas, 19th century women’s Gothic fiction, and 21st century experimental, internet poetry. I examined the way Australian internet poets Mez Breeze and Katharine Botten have re-purposed certain Gothic tropes, to evoke cyberspace as a Gothic landscape.
Writing this thesis taught me—alongside lots of obscure literary theory and where to find the most terrifying memes—how to rewrite an entire thesis in a month, how to transcend the need for sleep, and how friends who drive your vacant vessel of a body to Uni on the day of submission are friends forever.
I am deeply passionate about the work done by Australia’s independent publishers and literary journals, who shine a light on strong, diverse voices within Australia’s myriad communities. I have had the absolute honour of commissioning and editing Meanjin’s online series ‘What I’m Reading’, during which I worked with a number of wonderful writers on pieces that explored their relationship to reading. I have also worked as a copyeditor for The Lifted Brow, and I am currently the Secretary of The Lifted Brow Board.
My writing and poetry have been published in Voiceworks, Archer Magazine, Free Association, Neptune Dream Archive and Wet Dreamz, and in 2019 I self-published my first poetry collection Sleepover, which was brought to life by the magical illustrations of artist Beatrice Wharldall.
I am chuffed to be part of the small and mighty team at the Small Press Network! I look forward to meeting you virtually at the conference this year, otherwise you can find me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophia-benjamin-4ba90a19b/ And find my weird, poetic ramblings on Instagram at @sophiahbenjamin