The Heroine’s Journey of Anji Bignell

What is the best thing that I love about my work as a storyteller?

Digging deep into the subcutaneous framework of our society to connect with the people that have fascinating stories to tell if you ask the right questions.

What is my idea of happiness?

Endless possibilities to explore new worlds.

What is my greatest fear?

Living an ordinary life.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I can be overly critical of myself and therefore of others.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

Stephen King and Clive Barker for their dark, visceral characterisation of the supposedly normal and everyday human existence.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Food. Having worked in publishing for many years, the majority of books that ended up on my desk were books on food. My most extravagant dinner party fantasy would be to use the experimental recipes from my Salvador Dali cookbook while bringing Dali back to life as my dinner guest.

On what occasion would I lie?

I find it extremely difficult to lie – my face says it all! So there is never an occasion to lie. In saying that, I have most definitely lied in the past, but it’s got me into too much trouble.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The humdrum of life admin such as invoicing and doubling up as my own personal assistant. I’ve also become progressively disconcerted by the lack of integrity and originality within journalism and ‘storytelling’ these days.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Producing and editing two magazines while living the business class life being flown to places like Sri Lanka, New Zealand, the U.S and remote parts of Australia to interview the locals and write stories for a living. It was good while it lasted (hello Covid).

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Perhaps the analysis paralysis I have on an everyday basis!

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Creating, designing and developing a magazine from its inception to publication and having it stocked in major supermarket and retail outlets across Australia. Also developing community engagement programs like the Postcard Project and the Guerrilla Love letter zines well over 10 years ago, that helped connect people across the world and has now become a very popular way of exploring tangible ways of communicating during times of disconnection.

Where would I most like to live?

Spain. After taking a break working on super yachts many years ago, I found myself alone on foot exploring Spain, and I vowed I would come back to live someday. Just mention ‘vino tinto y tapas’ and I’ll come running. Oh, and I also love the language.

What is my most treasured possession?

I don’t get attached to possessions, but my memories are the most treasured.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I like to laugh and I have an exceptionally loud laugh – it has been known to scare small children!

What is my most inspirational location in my city?

I once had a writing studio in the infamous Nicholas Buildings – once the beating heart of Melbourne’s artistic and bohemian lifestyle with many hidden stories that may never be told. Not to mention its incredible Art Deco architecture and the letter drop chute that runs through the centre of it!

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Cheap dumplings and salt n pepper squid at a very nondescript shop on Bourke street.

What books influenced my life and how?

The Bachman Books by Stephen King (under the pseudo of Bachman), A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (with the nadsat language, a patchwork of Russian and English colloquialism at the back of the book), and of course, 1984 by George Orwell – all read at the age of 15. They made me question the ‘reality’ that we believe we live in.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day?

Kate Bush, Everything Everything, Britney Spears, John Carpenter and ‘Born Dead’ by Body Count.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

The Big Friendly Giant from The BFG by Roald Dahl.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

The woman I met at the bus stop once, who told me about her incredibly horrific upbringing as a child of the State, but had made it her goal to help others who had also experienced similar pain and suffering, in order to help share their story too.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Oh wow, there are so many, but if I had to choose one off the top of my head, then perhaps ‘High Fidelity’. Just because I’ve always been a mad John Cusack fan and it’s a great adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book.

What role play stories in my life and work?

Stories are how we learn, grow and see inside each other’s souls. Without stories, we could never know what hope is like and I’ve found hope to be the inspiration or at least the motivation for all my work.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ mean to me?

Life imitates art and art imitates life – so be the one to create your own story and it will forever be a masterpiece.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My sisters.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021?


Atlas Obscura

Messy Nessy Chic

Henry Rollins (his publishing company, 2.13.61)

Mike Patton

Adriana Huffington

Which people in my profession can make a real difference in my creative career?

As above, so below.

What project, in 2021, am I looking forward to working on?

Finishing my script and creating/running workshops on my own property.

Where can you see me or my work in 2021?

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Sleepless nights under the guise of creativity.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Brie Trenerry

Rebecca Long

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