Eating with My Mouth Open | The Saturday Paper

I grew up thinking there were seven fundamental flavours: suān, tián, kǔ, là, xián, xiān, má. The first five translate easily – sour, sweet, bitter, hot, salty – but the other two don’t own a home on the English tongue. It was a shock to realise that something as material as flavour could be coloured and even erased by language. But eating has many dimensions beyond what happens in your mouth, as Sam van Zweden chronicles in this thoughtful debut, Eating with My Mouth Open.

Eating with My Mouth Open | The Saturday Paper

Ghost in the Mirror | Disobedient Daughters

I have an essay in this gorgeous publication that accompanies the Disobedient Daughters exhibition at Counihan Gallery. Edited by curator Sophia Cai and designed by Joy Li, you can order a copy through the publisher, Heart of Hearts Press.

If you’re in Melbourne, please also check out the exhibition which is on at Counihan Gallery, from 6 February to 21 March. Thank you especially to artist Meng-Yu Yan, whose work my piece riffs off.

Event: Silent Dialogue book launch

Silent Dialogue logo

There’s a book launch for Silent Dialogue 沉默的对话 tomorrow night in Collingwood if you’d like to join us in a celebration and meet some of the folks involved in the project. The book is an illustrated multilingual publication that accompanies the Silent Dialogue exhibition with images of original artworks and specially commissioned pieces of original writing by leading scholars and writers from across the country. I’ll be reading from my essay in the book, ‘We need new names’, which looks at the politics of changing your name.

Fri 5 Feb 2021
6:15 pm to 7:30 pm
Art Echo Gallery, Collingwood
free | booking required

You can also order the Silent Dialogue book here.

Not For Broadcast | The Saturday Paper

‘[Evading censorship] felt a lot like a game, actually – a futile yet addictive game that made your heart race as you tried to jump from story to story, ducking and weaving, squeezing as much as you could through an ever-shrinking space.’

For The Saturday Paper’s culture section, I wrote about reliving the anxiety and adrenaline of working as a journalist in China while playing the dystopian newsroom simulation game Not for Broadcast. Read it here.

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) film review | The Guardian

For The Guardian, I reviewed Monica Zanetti’s teen romcom, Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt), a pretty charming story of queer love – romantic, familial, and intergenerational.

‘Zanetti cleverly plays with the idea that our queer predecessors paved the way for how we live now, but as individuals can be just as bumbling and out of touch as anyone else when it comes to dealing with teenagers. We might idolise OWLs (“older wiser lesbians”) but they’re only flightless, bug-eyed humans after all.’

Sophie Hawkshaw and Zoe Terakes in Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt). Photograph: Nixco

Walking away, backwards; or, woman-lite in women’s lit

As an AFAB nonbinary person, many feminist and women’s spaces welcome me – but often that welcome is itself a form of trans erasure, an insistence on seeing us as the genders we were assigned. I wrote about my uncomfortable relationship with feminist literary spaces for Feminist Writers Festival.

Image with Feminist Writers Festival logo and pullquote 'I know the hospitality I receive is frequently also a form of trans erasure - an insistence on seeing us as the genders we were assigned. - Jinghua Qian'

‘I’m pretty accustomed to not feeling at home anywhere – this is often a good thing, a productive tension. The can of worms fertilises the soil. But whether it’s Feminist Writers Festival, Facebook writers’ groups, or other feminist literary initiatives like the Stella Prize, I think it’s important to remember that you can’t simply tweak the category of woman to accommodate nonbinary people. Nonbinary disturbs the foundations of binary gender because it’s supposed to. It’s intentionally an interruption, a question as well as an identity.’