Fay Keegan’s memoir receives literary commendation

Fay Keegan's manuscript, All Stations to Waterfall, was highly commended in the Finch Memoir Prize. Photo: Alex Vaughan.
Fay Keegan's manuscript, All Stations to Waterfall, was highly commended in the Finch Memoir Prize. Photo: Alex Vaughan.

Her memoir is not yet published, but Fay Keegan’s All Stations to Waterfall is receiving a positive reaction from people in the literary field.

The manuscript received a highly commended in the most recent Finch Memoir Prize, which is awarded each year for an unpublished manuscript in the life writing genre.

“It felt pretty amazing to be commended for the first manuscript I’ve written and the most thrilling thing was the feedback from the judges,” said Fay, who lives at Pampoolah.

That feedback included the descriptions “very moving”, “haunting” and “compelling”.

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The winning manuscript for the competition will be published this year.

Fay said the response to her work from Finch Publishing was also positive, its editor saying they were “gripped” and that the memoir was “well written and brilliantly clear-eyed about the events and ramifications on everyone”.

“She said they’d love to offer me a publishing contract but with the current resources are unable,” said Fay.

“That is the story with all publishers in the industry. They have to be very careful about what they put on their list. It’s such a tough market at the moment.”

All Stations to Waterfall tells the story of the aftermath of Fay’s fall from a moving train at 11 that crushed her foot and left her with long-term issues, and which slowly lead to her family’s implosion.

“The accident is really just the beginning of the story. It was the catalyst to other events.”

The story is told as if the past is the present and like a story. It is an atypical memoir.

Fay Keegan

Fay became an amputee in 2012 due to the ongoing pain and infection in her foot caused by the accident.

She finished the final draft in March 2016 and has worked with a mentor since June last year.

“The way I’ve written it is like fiction. It’s not the classic style of writing in the present and reflecting on the past. The story is told as if the past is the present and like a story. It is an atypical memoir.”

She said some other exciting feedback is how filmic the story sounds and that it could lend itself to be made into a movie and the characters lend themselves to being dramatised.

Fay will also continue to pursue the publication of her story.

“The manuscript is still out there and there has been a number of people who have shown some interest in the work, but I still don’t know where it will end up.”

She has chosen not to take the self-publishing route, saying “ I just want to go with the journey of the traditional path”.