‘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.’
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.
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.
For the Guardian’s Stream Team column, I wrote about the 2004 romcom, Saving Face. Smash Valentine’s Day and the Year of the Ox with this gaysian classic that celebrates mothers and daughters pushing back on patriarchy, shame and prejudice.
‘[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.
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.
‘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.’
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)
‘The novel toys with the frame of a feminist revenge fantasy but Yannie makes an atypical heroine. Her rage is not sexy or witty or glamorous. It’s curdled resentment, sour and hard, obsessive and cracked.’