Hard Read

My audio piece for Powerhouse Museum’s Oscillations project is finally out! It’s a chewy little story about sino/trans inscrutability, visibility and representation. Massive thanks to sound and story wizard Jon Tjhia, and everyone whose voices and ideas are part of this work: Atong Atem, Oliver Reeson, Kate Bagnall and Tim Sherratt, and my glorious chorus. So proud of this. Listen here.

What does it cost to be visible? Chinese and trans people shift in and out of focus in Australia’s historical records – appearing and disappearing, code-switching, oscillating. Through the lens of turn-of-the-century portrait photography, Jinghua Qian looks at the privilege and burden of representation and the luminous power of inscrutability.

OzAsia Festival

I’m headed to Adelaide this weekend to do a couple of panels as part of OzAsia Festival’s literary program, In Other Words.

I’ll be speaking about reporting on China and Chinese Australians with ABC journalist Bang Xiao and moderator Benjamin Law, and then discussing writing and intersectional identities with Sarah Malik and E Flynn, moderated by Jason Om. Both sessions are free entry with no need to book, so just turn up!

I’m really looking forward to catching up with Asian Australian writers and artists from around the country, too – see some theatre, gobble some yum cha, groan about politics, perfect. You can peruse the whole program here.

Reporting on China, Reporting on Chinese Australians
Saturday 5 November 2022
11:30 pm to 12:30 pm
The Star: Kitchen and Bar
Adelaide Festival Centre (map and directions)
Free entry

Writing at the Intersection
Saturday 5 November 2022
2:45 pm to 3:45 pm
The Star: Kitchen and Bar
Adelaide Festival Centre (map and directions)
Free entry

Australian Literature in the Shadow of the Colonial Patriarchy

I’m speaking at this conference next week hosted by ANU, and I’m really impressed with the program and how accessible it is: registration is free and every session is livestreamed.

Organised by Evelyn Araluen, Julieanne Lamond and Monique Rooney, the program features Melissa Lucashenko, Jackie Huggins, Jeanine Leane, Elizabeth Flynn, Natalie Harkin, and many more. Full program and registration here.

Australian Literature in the Shadow of the Colonial Patriarchy
Monday 24 October & Tuesday 25 October
ANU Canberra and online via Zoom
Free registration

Against Disappearance: Essays on Memory | The Saturday Paper

‘Nearly every writer here seems wary of the risks of putting something on the record and into the crosshairs of the governable. The space between the lines is heavy with purposeful omissions as well as inherited silences.’

I reviewed the latest Liminal anthology, Against Disappearance (ed. Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez), for The Saturday Paper.

Non-binary finery: can genderless fashion move beyond a label? | The Guardian

‘Genderless’ has become a buzzword in fashion, but what does it actually mean, besides brands being able to double their market for every item?

For The Guardian, I talked to trans and nonbinary designers and retailers about genderless branding, pinkwashing and what labels could do instead of whacking a rainbow on it.

‘I don’t think we should take the gender out of fashion’, says Rae Hill, designer at Origami Customs. ‘Instead of “genderless”, there needs to be more of a fluidity of gender. The gender of a piece of clothing is whatever gender you feel when you wear it, and not that you have to fit into the gender of that piece.’

Photo: Origami Customs.

Folding tofu skins while Shanghai stills | Going Down Swinging

‘When I do refer to recipes, I prefer to use the web, and my usual process is to skim half a dozen recipes from different websites so I can triangulate the common denominators, and then proceed with the laziest version possible.’

I’m not much of a cookbook user but I read, reviewed and cooked and ate my way through Fuchsia Dunlop’s celebrated Jiangnan cookbook, Land of Fish and Rice, for Going Down Swinging – which occupies a soft spot in my heart because it was the first lit journal I was ever published in.

You can also check out the social threads I did leading up to the review on Going Down Swinging’s Twitter account: 1, 2, 3, 4

Nonbinary airline passengers | The New York Times

A little while ago I spoke to New York Times contributor Brian Ng about airlines failing nonbinary passengers in their booking systems while pursuing the pink dollar. Read or listen to the story below.

Brian Ng investigates the sluggishness of airlines in adopting options for nonbinary travellers in the gender and title fields of their booking engines, despite legal recognition in many countries. New York Times, 22 June 2022.

Big thanks to Brian for pursuing this story, and shoutout also to photographer Asanka Brendon Ratnayake – I am so awkward in front of a camera but he really put me at ease and we had a nice chat about NYT Australia and journalism in Asia, Australia and the US.

3/4 view of an Asian person with short black hair and wire glasses, wearing a dark denim shirt, standing with arms crossed against a black sculpture
Jinghua Qian by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake.

Ask About… Navigating Freelance Life | Writers Victoria

Yes it’s another panel! This time with Anna Spargo-Ryan and Marisa Wikramanayake on freelancing.

Usually, being a fulltime writer isn’t just about writing. It’s also about pitching, managing your time, developing relationships and chasing up invoices. Freelance life is often simultaneously stressful and liberating. Whether you’re considering freelance life, taking on a little freelance work alongside a full- or part-time job or looking for tips to improve your current practices, three experienced freelance writers are here to answer your questions.

Ask about… navigating freelance life
Tuesday 19 July
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Online
Book here | $18-$40 or free via the WV Fund

Poster with photos of Anna, Jinghua and Marisa above text for the vent on a spotty background.

Accessing the industry | Emerging Writers Festival 2022

Another event I’m part of at EWF this year is a lunchtime panel demystifying the writing and publishing industry, particularly for writers from working-class and low-income backgrounds. It’s with Julia Rose Bąk and Dan Hogan, and it’s online via YouTube so you can join from anywhere.

Lunchtime Literature: Accessing the industry
Friday 24 June 2022
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Online (via YouTube)
Free | Join/watch here

Check out the rest of the program here, there’s a lot on and most of it’s free!