Writer Amy Heydenrych describes herself as “a midwife of ideas.”
Her short stories and poems have been published in anthologies including Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review and Short Sharp Stories, and her debut thriller, Shame On You, was published this year. The novel unpacks the impact of public shaming, and is the first in a two-book deal with international publishers Bonnier Zaffre. She has also been shortlisted twice for the Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship.
“I worked at being a writer for many years, and it took years of perseverance to finally get an international publishing deal,” she says. “The process has taught me that the dream is not actually ‘getting published,’ but becoming the best writer I can be. I am hoping that my path as an author will inspire fellow young South Africans to persevere in their writing careers, and to see that with hard work and patience, absolutely anything is possible.”
Heydenrych runs her own company, called Story, where she blogs to promote female and South African authors, as she’s a fierce champion of local fiction. When she isn’t working on her own ideas, Heydenrych is a ghostwriter for other people who have a story to tell but don’t have the right words to do it well. She also works with fiction writers to refine the first drafts of their manuscripts and prepare them for pitching.
“I have learned so much about writing and editing through my process of being published, and I hope to share my skills with aspiring young South African writers. Whether one is a writer or a reader, I believe that stories hold immense power to teach, engage and drive empathy,” she says.
She ghost writes material for companies too. “I take the ideas of a business owner or individual and bring them into the world using words that will resonate with readers, using my skill as a writer to help people express themselves,” she says. While creative and corporate writing may seem an unlikely marriage, Heydenrych believes they are complementary.
“My fiction side allows me to look at projects from a fresh, creative perspective and my corporate training ensures I apply a strong structure to everything I write or edit. Ultimately, all written content needs to reach its audience using a tone and language that resonates with them.” — Lesley Stones