Teacher-writers: the hyphenated existence

Writers who also teach (and vice versa). How do they manage to juggle both professions?

That author earnings are perilously low is no secret. Lest anyone has forgotten the figures, an Australian Society of Authors (ASA) survey in 2020 discovered that of the total respondents, almost 80% earn less than $15,000 per year, with 49.7% earning between $0 and $1999 per year. To eke out a basic living wage, the majority of writers have day jobs or side hustles to support themselves, and often this work leans into teaching, whether full-time, part-time or as a freelancer.

ArtsHub asks four teacher-writers about the tricky balance of honouring their professional and creative interests.

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Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy