Olivia Hill is an indie-published playwright and short story author.
What inspired you to become a writer?
It was my desperation to be heard. I began as a young girl writing poetry just to express myself since I lived in a house where my voice was completely silenced. In high school, I had an inspirational educator that encouraged my writing and praised my ability. But because of my undiagnosed learning disabilities, I could not remain in her classroom due to my test scores. Being placed in a remedial class silenced my writing for many years. It wasn’t until I was already a mother, starting college, that I was recognized by a professor. It motivated me to start again. I quickly found it a powerful format to elevate my voice and be heard.
What author do you admire and how have they inspired your writing?
One of the first books that inspired and shaped my writing was “Daddy Was a Number Runner” by Louise Meriwether. The direct, raw nature of the writing felt different than anything I had experienced. The story was told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old black girl, a character that I resonated with but was also unlike any character I had been introduced to before. The sound of that story has stayed with me throughout my childhood and adult life.
Name three of your favorite books and their authors
- “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman
- “Akata” series by Nnedi Okorafor
- “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
What’s one thing readers should know about you?
I write from what I know best, myself. The relationships, experiences, and oddities of life are constant material for exploration and stories. Whether through my plays, short stories, or my recent memoir, I find the dialogue and interaction between people fascinating and like to expose truths through what people say and don’t say. Although this form of writing is easier captured in plays, I really like exploring dialogue through my prose as well. I start with myself to explore relationships.
What one piece of advice would you give to a budding writer?
Your words and the stories that you tell are more valuable than what it pays.
Olivia Hill is a playwright, author, visual artist, and chef. She shares her journey of mental health, literacy, and being a Black woman within the creative arts to many audiences. She is a published short-story author and playwright of over five plays that have been produced in multiple states. She is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Award for her play Mother Spense. As a visual artist, she has specialized in printmaking and watercolor, exhibiting in multiple galleries.
Hill holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She resides back in her hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, where she continues to be an activist on social issues that affect BIPOC creatives and love on her grandchildren.