As a General Practitioner, Leah Kaminsky sees herself as a generalist at heart, thus her description of her writing being ‘genre-fluid’.
Leah doesn’t determine what’s she’s going to write. ‘It determines itself when it comes out on the page. “Oh, look we’re writing a short story! Really? I thought it was a novel… and that’s going to be a poem? How nice.”’
Enrolling in the inaugural Professional Writing and Editing course in 1988, Leah immediately felt at home. ‘In medical fields I was kind of “Leah the crazy one,” but at PWE they really got me,’ she says.
For Leah, it was like a wellspring. ‘I’d been through years of medical training and there’d been a plug in my creativity then all of a sudden this whole world opened up and my writing was flowing.’
No wonder! Leah studied under the greats of the era – Carmel Bird for novel, Antoni Jach for short story, Judith Rodriguez for poetry. ‘I can still remember Judith standing down the other end of the corridor from the students reading their poems aloud. If you mumbled, you’d get a loud demand to, ‘PROJECT!’
Apart from being challenged and supported, Leah also appreciated the dedicated and highly skilled tutors, the fact that she was accountable, and the practical advice on, for example, where to submit her work. ‘It really got me started – contributing to magazines, because of my medical background, and generally being in the literary community. I went on to publish many feature health articles. I even started tentative steps towards writing my debut novel The Waiting Room.’
Leah found the course very accessible. It became a stepping stone to a BA in creative writing and an MFA to follow ‘all striving to learn the craft’. But that initial course, ‘gave me the confidence to call myself a writer.’
Leah's works include the novels The Waiting Room and The Hollow Bones, as well as her nonfiction We’re All Going To Die, Differential Diagnosis and The Pen and The Stethoscope.
Find out more about Leah at leahkaminsky.com.
This profile was written and researched by Ann Bolch from A Story To Tell.