her words’ guide to the Emerging Writers’ Festival

Image via IWF website

Image via IWF website

Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival is a very special event. Rarely do we get to see innovative creators and voices come together to share their thoughts and their work with us, but between June 19 - 29 EWF will bring you all that and more. Unlike other mainstream festivals, EWF is committed to representation and allowing marginalised folks to share themselves and their communities through their art. Whether you’re a writer, artist or just someone who likes to engage with thought-provoking discussions, there will be something in the EWF program for you. We have had such a hard time whittling down our list to just five, so make sure you have a look at the full program - you never know what you will find!

Thursday 20th June: A Raven, A Writing Desk

At her words, we have spent a lot of time looking at the way we speak about mental illness. This event asks what happens when we free ourselves from the sterile language of ‘mental illness and health’ to explore writers’ relationships with their minds? A Raven, A Writing Desk is a night of storytelling dedicated to defining our own experiences, and recognising mental illness as both obstacle and inspiration, featuring Robin M Eames, Heidi Everett, Madison Griffiths, Gemma Mahadeo and Andrea Mendez and hoest by Leah Avene.

Monday 24th June: EWF x I SEE YOU: Reflections

I SEE YOU (decolonising screens) is a platform to showcase and discuss screen media from Africa and the diaspora, made to focus on black voices, stories and experiences in film and television. This event, hosted in collaboration with EWF, showcases artists from various practices responding to films that speak to their notion of culture and identity. Hosted by Ayan Shirwa, you will hear from artists Sha Gaze, Mimo Mukii, Brett Lee (Pirritu), Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga and Kalu Oji. With a focus on black voices and decolonial perspectives, it considers how the special films in our lives help shape our sense of self. We can’t wait for this event, so make sure you book your tickets and we will see you there!

Monday 24th June: The Bogong Spoken Word: Blaktivism

Traditionally, when the Bogong moth swarmed in the cool regions of Mount Bogong during summer, local tribes would gather to conduct ceremonies and feast on this protein-rich food source. This will be a night of fearless truth-telling in honour of the Bogong and the centuries of tales exchanged under its wings. Hear six First Nations artists and activists reflect on the stories of blak activism in their lives. Hosted by Kat Clarke, you will hear from Nikayla Bamblett, Laniyuk, Neil Morris, Sermsah ‘Suri’ Bin Saad and Tarneen Onus-Williams, who you may recognise from our IWD panel on self care and burnout, or our series on sexual assault and victim-blaming. This free event will be a celebration of blak resistance, defiance and fight in all its forms.

Wednesday 26th June: Late Night Lit: Activism Through Creative Practice

In partnership with SEVENTH Gallery, this EWF event brings together six spoken word artists to share their raw stories. Hosted by the brilliant Roj Amedi, who you may remember from our IWD panel way back in 2018, you will hear stories from Jazz Giuliani, Laniyuk, Jess Kapuscinski-Evans, Haneen Martin and Ishak Sonlay, and take in video works by Camila Galaz, Gabi Briggs, Olivia Koh, Sophie Penketham Young and Zoë Bastin. Listen as they respond to video and sound art with burning passion and committed activism. Plus, it’s totally free!

Thursday 27th June: EWF x LIMINAL: Interstitial

If you haven’t already come across it, Liminal magazine is an online space for the exploration, interrogation and celebration of the Asian-Australian experience. Salman Rushdie notes that the diasporic identity is “plural and partial” – sometimes we straddle two cultures, and other times, we fall between two stools. What does it mean to be both? What could it mean to stand on the hyphen that connects and separates; to build a self within interstitial space? Join LIMINAL as they explore this idea through poetry, prose and comics. This amazing event features Rachel Ang, Heather Joan Day, Peo Michie, Darlene Silva Soberano and Jessie Tu and is hosted by the wonderful Leah Jing, who you may remember from our IWD panel discussion earlier this year. This is going to be an exceptional night of art and discussion, so book your tickets now!

This is only a handful of the incredible, inspiring and challenging experiences taking place during EWF 2019, so make sure you explore the program - you’ll find workshops, lunchtime discussions and late night parties. We can’t wait to see you there!

Domini Marshall