The Best Writers You’ve Never Heard Of

The Emerging Writers’ Festival 2017 is just around the corner and we seriously CANNOT wait. It’s an opportunity to learn about new writers, touch base with some of your faves and check out lots of interesting and interactive festivities! Plus it’s a not-for-profit that supports the Melbourne creative community in a thoughtful and energetic way. 

So here are a few writer-babes to keep your eye on this year.


Sukhjit Kaur Kalsa

How would you describe your work?

A comedic slap in the face journey of emotions and questions. Political satire. ExtrodinHAIRy content about being a brown gal in Straya. It’s definitely not something I could see in the ‘Australian Classical Poetry’ section at the library or so much on the written page but more so an immersive interactive experience of storytelling.

Why did you become a writer?

I see myself more of a performer than a writer and the reason I began to write my own scripts was because I realised how important being in control of your story. Being a representation of every Sikh in the entire universe can be quite a challenge however I’d rather be in control of that story rather than Raj or Apu’s producers. Spoken word is a way to step into someone else’s shoes. There isn’t back up dancers or props or characters to hide behind, it’s you and your vulnerable self. i always tell school students I meet that you gotta write your own story before someone else does. And trust me, they will. They probably already have tried. #BlackLivesMatter #Intersectionality

If you could choose any superpower what would it be?

To shoot empathy juice out of my nipples whenever I felt like it or when I met Trump. OR my period blood could be this empathy juice also. Just saying.

Are you the friend that is constantly correcting everyone’s grammar and picking up on spelling mistakes?

Being a Gen Y from the autocorrect era, I am actually the one who is ALWAYS being corrected by my friends. I hate it. Spelling is not my strong suit. Neither is grammar. I sometimes sound more ethnic than I am with the weird gibberish that comes out of my mouth.

Why is the Emerging Writers’ Festival an important part of Melbourne’s creative culture?

Tall poppy syndrome sucks and we need to support festivals such as EWF to bring new stories new talent and new faces into the industry.

 

 Omar Sakr

How would you describe your work?

My work springs from the intersection of my experiences, of my selves. There is an idea of a whole singular self which I am no longer sure I believe in, if I ever did. Instead I see a series of oscillating fragments, many parts rotating, sometimes fitting together and sometimes colliding—with each other or an outside force. What I am and what I see emerges in the aftermath.

Why did you become a writer?

I don’t know if one becomes a writer or if one is diagnosed with the disease. It certainly feels like the latter. If I had to make it sound like a rational choice I would say that, first, it came from the frustration of reading scenes that weren’t working for me, knowing there was a rightness missing from the work. I had that sense early on, even when I knew nothing. Later, it came not out of any instinctual editorial urge but a realization there was a distinct absence in literature, a void where desperately I wanted a mirror. So I started building one.

If you could choose any superpower what would it be?

Can anti-racism be a superpower? God, that would be great. Failing that, I’d take something that would help me survive the coming climate apocalypse, like an ability to generate food and fresh water from nothing or, wait, to time travel—yeah, time travel ought to do the trick. I’ll just stay in the pre-apocalypse times, thanks.

Are you the friend that is constantly correcting everyone’s grammar and picking up on spelling mistakes?

A long time ago I was that asshole. I’m still an asshole, just in a different way.

Why is the Emerging Writers’ Festival an important part of Melbourne’s creative culture?

EWF is important because it gives young writers opportunities to speak and to listen in a collaborative, to teach and to learn in a nurturing space. It allows them—us, I’m still young damn it!—to get a sense of what a literary festival can be, and how to navigate it. You can network, make friends, up-skill, prepare yourself for bigger stages, and get paid to do it. I’ve done all this and more already, now I’m just holding on for dear life until they eventually tell me I’m too grossly old to be allowed in any more.

 

Christian Taylor

Photography credit: Lachlan Woods

How would you describe your work?

Hmmm… I’m still in the process of figuring out what my ‘thing’ is. I think most of my work has elements of magic realism to it. It takes the internal and expresses it in a fragmented and surreal way, which has a lot to do with my training as a theatremaker. Because I over think everything, my work deals with some pretty large-scale and conceptual material, like quantum mechanics, big data or climate change. But I am fascinated not only by how such things affect us in a very intimate psycho-social manner, but also how this in turn affects any attempt to comprehend or deal with them.

Why did you become a writer?

I never really considered myself a writer until recently. I had dreams of it when I was younger – I was the kid who once submitted a 10,000 word “short story” for an English assessment in grade 8 – but never had the patience to follow anything through. I think because maybe I had always been copying other writers rather than doing my own thing. It took me a while to find material that instilled a sense of urgency, and once I found that, it was much easier to find my voice. It stopped being so much about my own anxiety of not expressing myself clearly, and about the discussion or change it might provoke.

If you could choose any superpower what would it be?

Flight. Hands down.

Are you the friend that is constantly correcting everyone’s grammar and picking up on spelling mistakes?

I notice them all the time, but it took me way too long to cotton on to the fact that it’s rarely welcomed. While I probably too enthusiastically offer to read over things for people for it to be considered friendly, I’m pretty good at keeping my mouth shut. I’ve managed to restrict the twitching to my left eye.

Why is the Emerging Writers’ Festival an important part of Melbourne’s creative culture?

EWF is so diverse. It exposes new audiences to new works, but also gives creatives a chance to immerse themselves in an incredible array of voices, cultures, styles and forms. It’s like a giant, choose-your-own-adventure creative development workshop. Writing so often becomes a solitary practice where you form your own little echo-chamber of ideas. That’s thankfully impossible with EWF.

 


Emerging Writer’s Festival runs 14 – 23 June. Be sure to check the website for the schedule and program.

For more info and to follow EWF:
Website: emergingwritersfestival.org.au

Instagram: @emergingwriters


Words: Julia Howland
Images: Courtesy of the writer


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