Club Critique | Emerging Writers’ Festival


And further on criticism, I’m chairing this panel at Emerging Writers’ Festival and the National Writers’ Conference featuring Prithvi Varatharajan, Dan Hogan, Jess Ho and Vyshnavee Wijekumar.

How and why should one write deeply engaged, contemplative, and authentic criticism? From literature to food, music to screen, join these writers as they consider the purpose and scope of criticism, the role criticism plays in the arts, as well as hopes and ambitions for the future of the form.

Club Critique
Saturday 17 June 2023
12:30pm to 1:30 pm AEST
Online via Zoom with closed captioning, Auslan on request
Free – details here

Also if you’re an arts critic or editor in Australia, you can add yourself to the Critical Mass database I made to help media outlets access a more diverse pool of critics.

Promo graphic with Club Critique in pink all-caps text over a purple background. Emerging Writers' Festival logo and website in green and white at the bottom of the square.

Taste test: Australian supermarket lasagne

As a public service, I gobbled up more than 3 kilograms of lasagne from Coles, Woolies* and Aldi, to review it for you, dear reader. Cheers to the Guardian for indulging my pivot from arts criticism to ready meal reviews.

There’s nothing like an oozy hunk of meat, cheese and carbs to make you feel as if you’ve just tucked yourself into a pasta doona. Eating lasagne under a blanket manifests a beautiful sense of symmetry: I’m at one with the universe in all its multi-layered glory.

FYI, I learned in the process of researching this story that lasagne is the plural, which is typically what’s used for pasta dishes (spaghetti, penne are also plural, and of course noodles), while lasagna is singular. Australian and UK English favours lasagne, US lasagna.

* It’s forever Safeway to me.

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

Feast of Resistance | Seventh Gallery

I have a little piece titled ‘In praise of laziness (portrait of my grandma in the frozen section)’ in a new limited edition publication called Feast of Resistance. Curated by Priya Pavri, with contributions from artists Moorina Bonini, Aida Azin, Lara Chamas, Sancintya Mohini Simpson, Shamen Suku and Nikki Lam, it’s launching this Saturday at Seventh Gallery.

Line drawing of people around a table, cooking and eating. The food is in colour.

One night snatch | Sincerely Yours at West Space

A couple of months ago, curator Sophia Cai asked me to pen some fanfiction for Sincerely Yours, an exhibition in collaboration with West Space x Arts Project Australia that explores fannish love and devotion.

So of course, : ‘One night snatch, or Brother Wang’s guide to eating out in Tashkent’. I think it’s one of the best and certainly the most embarrassing thing I wrote in the last six months.

If you’re in Melbourne, the exhibition is on until 6 March 2022 and you can also explore the other online pieces on West Space Offsite.

Dates with plates. Photo: Karolina Kołodziejczak on Unsplash


URST = unresolved sexual tension
RPF = real person fic
AU = alt universe

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