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13 June 2020

“Once the joy is there, you’ll always be a creator”

One of the most exciting names emerging from the Irish spoken word scene and still just 18 years old, Natalya O’Flaherty’s utterly arresting work transforms words into incredible instruments of power.

Having risen up from the gritty stages of the capital’s spoken word venues to now performing at some of the country’s most prestigious cultural centres, Natalya’s raw, poignant subject matter delivered in her unmistakable Dublin lilt, continually stuns audiences into silence.

With youth no obstacle to her already mounting accomplishments, Natalya was commissioned to write a new piece for RTÉ’s A Woman’s World programme, has twice appeared on The Late Late Show and celebrated the centenary of the Dáil’s first sitting by reading the 1919 Democratic Programme at the Mansion House. This impressive Dubliner’s first headline show just took place in April 2019 as part of the citywide Music Town festival, and with words as her weapon she will no doubt scale even dizzier career heights – so inescapable is Natalya’s talent.

We caught up with the young wordsmith to learn more about her creative process and inspiration with our Creative Q&A.

What’s your earliest memory of creativity or creative accomplishment?

My earliest memory of creativity is play! When I was really young I’d play out on the road with my friends and we’d make up all these stories about fairies living in the bins and trolls in the shores. I think we should always encourage free play in younger children, I know I’ve carried the skills I developed then into my writing.

What advice would you give young people to encourage their creativity?

I think everyone should explore different parts of creativity. Some people flourish in writing, others in dancing or acting or playing sport. There is creativity in so many areas and just because you’re not making a painting or writing a poem, it doesn’t mean you’re not being creative. Try innovating and expanding the things you enjoy and you’re already there!

What’s the most important part of your creative process?

I need to be left alone! I use my writing to get my thoughts and feelings out of my head and into some sort of shape. I can get defensive about unfinished works because me and the poem are still strongly connected. I need room to process and understand my feelings and I do that through my poetry.

Who is your creative hero and why?

I’ve spent a lot of time in spaces where the room is filled with creative people showcasing their work. I think anyone who has the courage to stand up in front of people and make themselves so vulnerable by sharing their art is an inspiration and a creative hero in their own right.

Finish the sentence, ‘creativity is…’

Creativity is making sense of the world in your own way. It’s cathartic, it’s a release, but most of all it’s fun! Enjoying yourself is the key to creativity, once the joy is there then you’ll always be a creator.

Find out how you can unleash your inner creative, check out what’s happening near you for Cruinniú na nÓg