Mia Arderne

AUTHOR: MERMAID FILLET @mermaidfil­let


Mia Arderne doesn’t write from a place of inspiratio­n – her work is rooted in lived experience. ‘Naturally, there are artists I look up to, but my writing process sounds more like, “I’m going through some shit and I need to put it down on paper before I lose my mind.”’ Mermaid Fillet, her debut novel, hit shelves last year and the buzz hasn’t stopped since.

Written in the Cape Town colloquial dialect Kaaps, it is mostly based in the Northern Suburbs, where she grew up. ‘I’ve had comments that the use of Kaaps is very ‘exclusive’, and some readers have requested a glossary. But I feel that it’s okay not to understand some things, or if the content is not about what you know. People should be comfortabl­e with not being centralise­d as an audience. I also think it’s important to be quite unapologet­ic about the world you inhabit, without compromisi­ng and trying to overexplai­n it. Writing about these things from a personal place was difficult and draining, but it’s impossible to write anything that’s true to myself and the climate around me without mentioning something as relevant as GBV – the narrative wouldn’t make sense.’

Her own experience with mental illness speaks through her characters. ‘It was never intended to be a theme as such – it just comes through because I have to reckon with that kind of thing. I have experience with depression and anxiety. I tend to release that energy through my characters so that I don’t have to think about it in terms of myself too often, because that’s tough.’

Mia works as a freelance writer and has published a number of features and online columns for Marie Claire, GQ and Cosmopolit­an.

To see more of her work, catch up with her on social media; and for more about Mermaid Fillet, visit nb.co.za

❛ I’ve had comments that the use of Kaaps is very “exclusive”, and some readers have requested a glossary.❜

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