UNSWriting

Cultivating flows of ideas and good writing
Connecting writers, publishers and students
Offering special events, workshops and public talks


UNSWriting Series 2017: Body Politics

Transnationalism, minor cosmopolitanisms and cross-cultural engagements. 

This series features Australian and Asian writers in conversation about the multiple histories of bodies within transnational and cosmopolitan networks across Australia and Asia. It engages with issues of indigeneity, whiteness and cultural minorities and explores the choices writers make as writers in addressing the issues that are pressing for them and for us all in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

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Upcoming Event | 1 August, 2017 | Wong Souk Yee

Wong Souk Yee

Political Thriller: Wong Souk Yee in conversation

Tuesday 1 August, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio

Join us for a conversation with Wong Souk Yee, Singaporean dissident writer, political prisoner in 1987 and now author of the political thriller Death Of A Perm Sec.

Bookings & Information

Upcoming Event | 23 August, 2017 | Osamah Sami

Osamah Sami

Race & Comedy: Osamah Sami in conversation with Mohammed Ahmad

Wednesday 23 August, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio

'The fact that these events are true beggars belief ... We need someone in the world to be our yardstick, a benchmark by which we may assess our own gaffes and shortcomings. Osamah is our man’
Andrew Knight Award - ­winning screenwriter and creator of Sea Change

Mohammed Ahmad (The Tribe) in conversation with Osamah Sami about life since his book Good Muslim Boy.

Bookings & Information

Previous Event | 15 May, 2017 | Nicole Watson with Alison Whittaker

NicoleWatson980x330

Aboriginal Crime Writing: Aboriginal novelist Nicole Watson interviewed by poet Alison Whittaker

Monday 15 May, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Nicole Watson is interviewed by Alison Whittaker on her first novel, The Boundary, and about writing Indigenous crime fiction and thrillers.What are the aspirations of Indigenous writers of crime and thrillers, and what challenges face them? What do these genres offer indigenous writers?

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Previous Event | 29 March, 2017 | Alison Whitaker and Anna Westbrook with Peter Polites

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Cosmopolitan Queer: Poet Alison Whittaker and novelist Anna Westbrook in conversation with Peter Polites

Wednesday 29 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

This evening features two young emerging queer writers with stunning debut books, Anna Westbrook and her dark crime novel Dark Fires Shall Burn (2016) and Alison Whittaker with a edgy book of poetry, Lemons in the Chicken Wire (2016). These two writers explore queer sensibilities ranging from the underworld of Newtown in the 1940s to the gritty aesthetics of queer and trans indigeneity on the fringes of northern NSW. The host for the evening is blogger and novelist Peter Polites.

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Previous Event | 20 September, 2016 | Michelle Cahill with Ouyang Yu

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Foreign-ness: Roanna Gonsalves speaks with writers Michelle Cahill & Ouyang Yu

Tuesday 20 September, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Writing across histories, countries and languages, sometimes the stories of minority writers in Australia have been unspeakable. How do minority writers engage with the mainstream without becoming tokenised? Questions such as these will be probed by this eminent panel, where writer and community activist, Roanna Gonsalves, speaks with prize winning authors Michelle Cahill and Ouyang Yu about how they have addressed the challenges facing writers of colour and incorporated multiple perspectives in their work

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Previous Workshop | 20 September, 2016 | Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu workshopWriting workshop with prize-winning poet, Ouyang Yu

Tuesday 20 September, 1-4pm
Studio 332, Webster Building, UNSW Kensington

Anytime and anyhow: writing poetry in-situ.

In this workshop Ouyang Yu will address issues such as the poet’s location and identity in a multicultural nation. He’ll give prompts or scenarios to students for writing poetry. The workshop will explore how things can be done poetically anywhere, anytime and anyhow.

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Previous Event | 9 September, 2016 | Queer Sentiments

QueerSentiments980x330Queer Sentiments

Friday 9 September, 3pm - 6pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

An afternoon discussion and reading of Australian and U.S. queer poetry and poetics, with an emphasis on affective aspects, based around the visit of Professor Brian Reed, of the University of Washington in Seattle. The panel also features poet and scholar Assoc. Professor Kate Lilley, of the University of Sydney, and Dr Michael Farrell, Melbourne poet, co-editor of the lesbian and gay poetry anthology Out of the Box, and author of a recent book on colonial Australian poetics: Writing Australian Unsettlement. It is a unique event seeking to theorise and investigate relations between the queer history of Australian poetry with the contemporary; as well as correspondences – and differences – between Australia and the U.S.

The event will begin with a panel of papers, chaired by UNSW Art and Design's Dr Astrid Lorange, poet and author of How Reading is Written: A Brief Index to Gertrude Stein, followed by discussion. There will be a short break followed by a poetry reading from all four speakers.

Image: Courtesy of artist Deborah Kelly

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Previous Event | 24 August, 2016 | Jeanine Leane with Anne Brewster

JeanineLeane_980x330Jeanine Leane in conversation with Anne Brewster

Presented by UNSWriting in partnership with Nura Gili

Wednesday 24 August, 6:30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Jeanine Leane, Wiradjuri poet, life history writer and scholar, explores the boundaries between poetry, fiction and life writing in her two acclaimed books Dark Secrets and Purple Threads. In this 'in-conversation' event with creative writing lecturer Anne Brewster Jeanine talks about how her family history and transgenerational memory has inspired her to write. She discusses the issues that have faced her as an Aboriginal writer in finding the right literary form and how she addresses the fact that readers may feel challenged by the events she writes about.

Jeanine Leane is the author of two books, a book of poetry Dark Secrets (winner of the Scanlon Poetry Prize) and a fictionalised memoir Purple Threads. She is currently completing her second book of poetry.

Jeanine Leane will be running a masterclass in partnership with Nura Gili from 1pm - 4pm prior to her talk.

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Previous Event | 19 May, 2016 | Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW | Yeonmi Park

ParkYeonmi980x330Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW Yeonmi Park: The Young North Korean Defector Changing the World

Thursday 19 May
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Register now for this special on-campus event.

Human rights activist Yeonmi Park comes to UNSW to share her extraordinary story of survival and escape. Now a university student, Yeonmi joins us to inspire a new generation of young world changers. Free event, bookings essential.


Find out about UNSW Arts & Social Sciences' partnership with Sydney Writers' Festival.

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Previous Event | 15 March, 2016 | Charlotte Wood and Jane Messer

WomenViolenceSurvivalWomen, Violence, Survival: Charlotte Wood and Jane Messer in conversation with Michaela Kalowski

Tuesday 15 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Charlotte Wood, author of the recent hotly debated novel The Natural Way of Things and Jane Messer whose recent novel Hopscotch shows a family facing a variety of crises will talk with interviewer Michaela Kalowski about women, violence and survival; how do women respond to violence, how do they endure almost intolerable situations to renew themselves, their friendships and their families?

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Previous Event | 31 March, 2016 | Chris Nealon and Pam Brown

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American-Australian Poetry Reading: Chris Nealon and Pam Brown with UNSW Alumni Josh Dubra and Lewis Trathen

Thursday 31 March, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Chris Nealon, distinguished fellow visiting from John Hopkins University will unite with Sydney-poet Pam Brown to present an evening of readings that meditate on everyday life and the seismic implications of individual actions. Connecting their mutual concerns with the abstraction and elaboration of common experiences, both are poets that distinctly reframe the personal to examine the possibility of agency and the repercussions of action.

They will be joined by recent UNSW graduates Josh Mei-Ling Dubrau and Lewis-Allan Trathen, reading their recent works.

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Previous Event | 20 April, 2015 | Ellen Van Neerven

Ellen van Neersen

Ellen van Neerven in conversation with Elizabeth McMahon

20 Apr 2015
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Presented in partnership with Nura Gili, Centre for Indigeneous Programs.

Ellen Van Neerven’s stunning debut book Heat and Light introduces an exciting new writer to the scene. Shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2015, which is being announced the day after Ellen’s visit to UNSW, the story cycle in Heat and Light portrays several generations of an Aboriginal family wrestling with silences and tragedy but also affirming the enduring bonds with ancestors that give them strength and resilience.

Van Neerven is an accomplished and innovative writer who ventures into a range of styles from storytelling to the invention of fabulist worlds, her stories of belonging, identity and desire are guaranteed to stay with you long after you turn the last page. Ellen will be in conversation with Australian literature specialist Elizabeth McMahon, editor of Southerly.

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Previous Event | 6 May, 2015 | Anne Buist

AnneBuist_980x330Anne Buist in conversation with Anne Brewster

6 May, 2015
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Medea's Curse introduces readers to forensic psychiatrist Natalie King who works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. Women with a history of abuse, mainly. She rides a Ducati a size too big and wears a tank top a size too small. Likes men but doesn’t want to keep one. And really needs to stay on her medication. Her creator, writer Anne Buist, is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry.

Anne Buist talks about this ground-breaking, feisty book and also more generally about women and violence, writing thrillers and erotic fiction, and her passion for women's mental health. Anne Buist will be in conversation with UNSW lecturer Anne Brewster, whose books include Literary Formations: Postcoloniality, Nationalism, Globalism (1996) and Aboriginal Women's Autobiography (1995). She co-edited, with Angeline O’Neill and Rosemary van den Berg, an anthology of Indigenous Writing, Those Who Remain Will Always Remember (2000). Her book of interviews with and essays on Aboriginal writers, Giving This Country a Memory is forthcoming.

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Previous Event | 19 May, 2015 | Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW | Evie Wyld

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Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW Evie Wyld in conversation with Clementine Ford

19 May, 2015
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington 

Evie Wyld, international author of All the Birds, Singing, speaks at UNSW on how to write a strong female character, using rural Australia as a backdrop and discusses whether literary fiction is flourishing more than ever. Writer Clementine Ford, who explores gender inequality, violence against women and pop culture in her twice weekly columns for Fairfax’s Daily Life, will interview rising literary talent Evie Wyld for this major festival event.

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Previous Event | 3 September, 2015 | Stephanie Bishop

StehanieBishopStephanie Bishop in conversation with Michaela Kalowski

3 September, 2015
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington 

In The Other Side of the World Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Henry wants things to be as they were and can’t face another English winter. When a brochure is slipped through the letterbox slot, Henry he believes he has the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you.’ But does it?

Stephanie Bishop’s stunning new novel The Other Side of the World has just been launched to critical acclaim. In this ‘In Conversation’ event she talks about her new novel, motherhood, migration, nostalgia and the writing life.

The Other Side of the World is Stephanie Bishop’s second novel. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian/Vogel's Literary Award. Her first novel was The Singing, for which she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists. The Singing was shortlisted for the Kathleen Mitchell Award.

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Previous Event | 7 October, 2015 | Mireille Juchau

MireilleJuchauAward-Winning Author Mireille Juchau In Conversation with Stephanie Bishop

7 October, 2015
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington 

It has been six months since Tess Müller stopped speaking. Her silence is baffling to her parents, her teachers and her younger sister Meg. The girls’ secluded lives in a northern rainforest town are shaken up when their father Stefan discovers human remains on their farm.

As locals in the transient community speculate on who has gone missing, Tess and Meg have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother Evangeline go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning home muddy and dishevelled?

One day Tess's teacher Jim stumbles across Evangeline by the wild Repentance River. Jim is in flight from his own troubles in Sydney, and Evangeline is in search of elusive truths about her time in a mountain commune. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline’s past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

As the forest trees are felled and the lakes fill with run-off from the expanding mines, the landscape of the family undergoes shifts of its own. When the rainy season descends and they become separated, each of the Müllers will be forced to decide where they truly belong.

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Previous Event | 3-4 December, 2015 | Rediscovering Christina Stead and Elizabeth Harrower

ChristinaSteadRediscovering Christina Stead and Elizabeth Harrower with Delia Falconer, Gail Jones, David Malouf, Michelle de Kretser, Ivor Indyk and Fiona McFarlan


Event One

Christina Stead Writers’ Panel:
Delia Falconer, Gail Jones and David Malouf

Facilitated by Fiona Morrison, UNSW and Brigid Rooney, USYD

Thursday 3 December
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Stead is a writer to whom other major writers repeatedly turn for inspiration and sustenance. Joining the Stead writers’ panel, Delia Falconer, Gail Jones and David Malouf will speak about their own encounters with Christina Stead’s fiction. They will explore their personal favourites among her novels and think aloud about her writerly craft and vision. What qualities in Stead’s prose yield, as Angela Carter says, its ‘devastating capacity to flay the reader’s sensibilities’ yet all the while managing to restore to us the entire world

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Event Two

Elizabeth Harrower Writers’ Panel:
Michelle de Kretser, Ivor Indyk and Fiona McFarlane

Facilitated by Brigitta Olubas, UNSW and Elizabeth McMahon, UNSW

Friday 4 December
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

The Harrower writers’ panel will consider the place of Harrower’s writing in the field of Australian literature and mid-century women’s writing. It will explore the dark, strange and tyrannical worlds of Harrower’s novels: the relationships that founder through violent clashes of gender and class, and where struggles for human connection become distorted into merciless games of power. And all this in the quiet suburbs of Newcastle, Sydney and London.

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Previous Event | 20 May, 2014 | Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW | Jeremy Scahill

JeremyScahil_980x330Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW Jeremy Scahill in conversation with Chris Masters

20 May, 2014
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington 

Jeremy Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist, and the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His latest book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield investigates the covert operations of the US in war zones around the world. Jeremy Scahill is in conversation with Australian journalist Chris Masters responsible for many notable Four Corners programs including his most famous report ‘The Moonlight State’ investigating police corruption in Queensland which initiated the Fitzgerald Inquiry and a raft of reforms that reached beyond Queensland.

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Previous Event | 22 May, 2014 | Sydney Writers' Festival at UNSW | Eimear McBride

EimearMcBrideSydney Writers' Festival at UNSW Eimear McBride in conversation with Ronan McDonald

22 May, 2014
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Eimear McBride’s debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, touches on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma. McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit. Eimear McBride will be in conversation with the Director of the UNSW Global Irish Studies Centre Professor Rónán McDonald whose research interests span modern Irish literature and culture and the contribution of Irish migrants to Australia.

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Previous Event | 2 September, 2014 | Marie Munkara

MarieMunkaraMarie Munkara in conversation with Anne Brewster

2 September, 2014
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington

Presented in partnership with Nura Gili, Centre for Indigeneous Programs.

Marie Munkara was born on the banks of the Mainoru River in Arnhem Land. Her first book Every Secret Thing won the 2008 David Unaipon Award and the 2010 NT Book of the Year. She lives in Darwin with her menagerie of cats, dogs and frogs. In this next talk as part of the UNSWriting 'In Conversation' series, Marie will be discussing both her new book, A Most Peculiar Act as well as her award winning novel Every Secret Thing.

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Podcasts and videos from previous UNSWriting events are available to download or stream.

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