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Back to the future for Chinese and Australian authors

Media release

The past will collide with the future when Curtin University’s China Australia Writing Centre hosts its second annual panel discussion event entitled Creative Conversations: Looking Forward/Looking Back, on 28 October 2017 in Fremantle.

Together with hosts, award-winning journalist Meri Fatin and literary industry professional Geraldine Blake, a total of 11 writers will explore the ways that authors engage with the notions of the past, the future, childhood/youth and ageing through their work in four engaging panel conversations.

Dr Lucy Dougan, poet and Program Director of the China Australia Writing Centre at Curtin University, explained that readers regularly engaged with characters at different stages of life to develop an understanding of what it might mean to feel and be a particular age.

“Writers help readers to imagine futures that we are yet to arrive at – or may never arrive at – and imaginative writing can return us to all kinds of pasts,” Dr Dougan said.

“Importantly, strong imaginative writing can challenge stereotypes to do with youth and ageing in much-needed ways.

“The Creative Conversations event works around these perennial points of human experience in a unique cross-cultural dialogue.”

This year’s presenters include:

Ryan Griffen: Created and co-produced both seasons of the television series Cleverman. The series had its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and is screened on ABC TV in Australia, the BBC in the UK and Sundance TV in the United States. Ryan’s goal in the industry is to bring the rebirth of genre back to Australia, inspired by 1950’s cinema all the way through to the 1980’s genre films.  Ryan wants to tell similar stories to those he was drawn to when growing up.

Liz Byrski: The author of nine novels including Gang of Four and The Woman Next Door, and 12 non-fiction books including In Love and War: Nursing Heroes and Remember Me. She is also an Associate Professor in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University and is a Senior Fellow of the China Australia Writing Centre.

Xia Jia:  A Chinese science fiction author who has been featured in Clarkesworld and Nature. Her story “A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” was nominated for the Short Form Award at the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards. She has also won the Chinese Galaxy Award, which is one of the most prestigious science fiction prizes in China. She is an Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Brooke Davis: She wrote the novel Lost and Found as part of a PhD at Curtin University. It proved to be the ‘buzz book’ of the 2014 London Book Fair; the translation rights have since been sold in more than 25 countries and major deals have been confirmed in the USA and the UK.

Matthew Chrulew: Co-editor of the books Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations and Foucault and Animals. He has published essays and short stories, including most recently “The Mamontogist’s Tale” in Cosmos and “Future Perfect” in Ecopunk! Speculative Tales of Radical Futures. He is an ARC DECRA Research Fellow in the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University.

Huiyi Bao: A medievalist and poet, she is the author of one book of poetry (I Sit on the Edge of the Volcano, 2016), one book of essays (Annals from the Emerald Island, 2015), and translator of 11 books from English into Chinese (including Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, Good Bones by Margaret Atwood). She now teaches at the Department of English, Fudan University.

Paul Hetherington:  Paul has published 11 full-length poetry collections and five poetry chapbooks. His collection Burnt Umber was shortlisted for the 2017 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and Six Different Windows won the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (poetry). He is a Professor of Writing in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra.

Dianne Touchell: Born and raised in Fremantle, Western Australia, her debut novel Creepy & Maud (Fremantle Press, 2012) was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Award in 2013 in the Older Readers category. She has worked as a fry cook, a nightclub singer, a housekeeper, a bookseller and manager of a construction company.

Wayne Price: A writer of short stories, poetry and novels, he has won numerous national and international honours for both fiction and poetry. He is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Aberdeen.

Elizabeth Tan:  Her first novel, Rubik, published in 2017 by Brio, was the result of research undertaken while completing her PhD in Creative Writing at Curtin University. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers and in 2016, her story ‘Coca-Cola birds sing sweetest in the morning’ was included in the anthology Best Australian Stories.

Beth Yahp: Originally from Malaysia, Beth Yahp is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been published in Australia and internationally. Her novel The Crocodile Fury was translated into several languages and her libretto, Moon Spirit Feasting, for composer Liza Lim, won the APRA Award for Best Classical Composition in 2003.  Her travel memoir Eat First, Talk Later, was published by Random House Australia in 2015.  More recently, Vagabond Press has reprinted The Crocodile Fury and also published a new collection of Beth’s short fiction, The Red Pearl and Other Stories.  She teaches in the Masters of Creative Writing Program at the University of Sydney.

Geraldine Blake:  She was a member of the judging panel for the past two WA Premier’s Book Awards, and is a regular moderator at the Perth Writers Festival. As a respected bookseller at Beaufort Street Books, Geraldine has been involved with many literary events, and has worked in the book industry for over twenty years.

 Meri Fatin: Podcaster, broadcaster, and award-winning journalist, Meri is a current presenter at RTR FM and a former ABC producer. In 2015, Meri launched Three Gates Media and her Rare Air podcast. She was senior producer on the Empathy Museum’s A Mile in My Shoes project for PIAF 2016.

 Creative Conversations: Looking Forward/Looking Back takes place on Saturday 28 October 2017 at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

The full program for the event and ticket registration can be found online here.