As Beautiful As Any Other | The Saturday Paper

I reviewed Kaya Wilson’s memoir, As Beautiful As Any Other for The Saturday Paper. Really appreciated having the space to think deeply about this book and the transition memoir as a growing genre.

‘Trans people are under immense pressure to present a coherent and palatable origin story that helps cis people make sense of us – even when we are not seeking medical treatment, we are treated by laypeople as if presenting to them for diagnosis. We are supposed to be intelligent, untroubled, sympathetic and reassuring.’

The Saturday Paper book review graphic showing the cover of Kaya Wilson's As Beautiful As Any Other

Antipodean China | InDaily & Writers SA

Plenty of ink and pixels have been spilled over the fraught relationship between Australia and China lately, so Nicholas Jose and Benjamin Madden’s anthology, Antipodean China: Reflections on Literary Exchange, would appear to be a timely intervention in a conversation that is rife with misreadings and illiteracy. Read my review in InDaily, part of Writers SA’s review series.

Cover of Antipodean China showing author names and an red papercut map-like image by John Young

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

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.

Arts writing mentorship | Sangam

Are you a South Asian arts writer living in Victoria? Sangam: Performing Arts Festival of South Asia and Diaspora has put together this pretty incredible paid mentorship. You get:

  • a workshop with me and Sonia Nair on 6 Feb 2021
  • support to write a response to a work or works at Sangam 2021
  • assistance securing a publication outcome with Sangam’s publishing partners, Peril Magazine and South Asian Today
  • $300 participant fee

EOIs close this Fri 15 Jan so apply now! And follow Sangam on Facebook or Instagram for more info about the festival. The full program will be released 17 Jan and the festival takes place 20 Feb to 13 Mar at Abbotsford Convent, the Drum Theatre, Dancehouse Melbourne and Bunjil Place.

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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

Workshop: Editing critical writing | Editing Micro-Festival

In November I’ll be presenting a workshop on editing criticism at the Editing Micro-Festival. The online festival runs 13 to 15 November with a fab line-up of presenters: Elena Gomez, Khalid Warsame, Hella Ibrahim, Cher Tan, Alison Evans, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, Mel Campbell, and Matilda Dixon-Smith (who’s also the festival organiser). Check out the full program here and please come along if you have even a passing interest in critical writing, it’s fine if you can’t pay anything.

Sat 14 Nov 2020
12 noon AEST
live online event
book here (pay what you feel – 50% of profits go to Pay the Rent)