About Jillian - Jillian Sullivan

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About Jillian

Jillian Sullivan

Jillian Sullivan lives and writes in Central Otago, New Zealand. She is published in a wide variety of genres and teaches workshops on creative non-fiction and fiction in New Zealand and America (Rosemont College, Philadelphia; Highlights Foundation, Pennsylvania).

Once the drummer in a woman’s originals band, and now grandmother of eleven, her passion is natural building. For the last six years she has worked as lime plasterer, strawbale and mudbrick builder on her own projects – a strawbale home, a mudbrick cottage and wall – as well as voluntary restoration work on mudbrick buildings.

From 2014-2017 she worked as a nurse aid for the Maniototo Hospital. In 2017 she was awarded the NZSA Beatson Fellowship towards writing a collection of creative non-fiction essays.

Jillian’s five children have been roped in in various ways with natural building, and she continues to inspire young people with her dream -that it’s possible to build your own shelter. But writing is her first love, from growing up in Masterton in the 50s to 70s, to living in a house bus with baby and husband, to bringing up a family beside the sea in Motueka.

She finished a Masters degree in Creative writing in her 50s, and became builder’s labourer and earth plasterer nearing 60. Now home is the tussock lands, the tor-serrated dry hills and the white flanked mountains of the Ida Valley, where she has 20 acres bordering the Ida Burn, and plenty of room to store clay and sand for future earth projects.

Publications: Creative non-fiction (adult) Map for the Heart – Ida Valley Essays (Otago University Press 2020), Two picture books, four children’s novels, two collections of young adult short stories, a mythology collection, a creative non-fiction book on writing, a collection of poetry, a memoir, a collection of essays, thirteen chapter books and over 45 essays and short stories.
Current projects, forthcoming adult novel.

Anthologies: Poems, essays and short stories published in New Zealand anthologies, including;
The Puffin New Zealand Story Book (Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd 1996)
Dare and Double Dare (Random House) 2007
Poems4Peace (Printable Reality 2014)
We Society (Printable Reality 2015)
Plate in the Mirror (Printable Reality 2016)
Boundaries (Penguin Random House 2015)
The Unexpected Greenness of Trees (Caselberg Press 2016)
Home (Massey University Press 2017)
The Walls Between Us (Juncture 2018)
Strike the Empty (Juncture 2019

“To write is to not only come from the conscious mind, which is the you that can recall what you recall. To write is to drop below that to the unconsciousness of all you do not know that you know. And here is where there is no fear. Once you are writing from this level there is no fear because everything you need is within you.”