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.

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

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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