It was a huge year for our little traveling bookshop! We went from the city streets (Melbourne) to the country (Wye River), attending festivals (Clunes Booktown Festival) and markets (Fitzroy Mills) and delivering books to your doorsteps.
I get so much pleasure from finding new homes for books that I know readers will treasure. It is a practical way to combine my environmental activism with my passion for Australian literature and reading. It’s been lovely to find other people who are as enthusiastic about our project as we are, and who continue to buy books and champion our shop.
Here’s a little video with a roundup of our achievements this year.
It’s Fringe Fever time in Melbourne and I’ve been reviewing shows for The Age. I was particularly pleased to be able to cover so many disabled performers for the festival; our sector is going from strength to strength.
Computers and their algorithms are ubiquitous in our lives and with a disarmingly warm delivery McKenzie mines this successfully to connect with his audience. I’m not keen on being hacked, but I’m keen on seeing this show as it develops.
Rarely does bedtime for two-to-12-year-olds involve chaos, cows and peals of laughter. That is, unless you’re at The Listies show ROFL, where Rich and Matt are tackling bedtime with the verve of over-sugared toddlers.
Welcome to Trades Hall where a town meeting has been called to unmask the Mafia hitmen among us. We’re here to witness a game of strategy, accusations, and outright lies (don’t worry, no audience participation required).
“We recommend you enjoy this show with headphones and jammies” is advice I like to hear at the opening of any performance. All the better coming from the soothing voice of Telia Nevile, poet laureate and fellow sleep-seeker.
We all want to feel like we’ve seen something unmissable, never to be repeated. Stuart Daulman delivers just this in each night of A Day in the Life, a show he writes daily based on what happened to him since he woke up the very same morning.
Piper Scott’s satire goes beyond low-hanging fruit. In an acutely powerful monologue, she evokes compassion by exploring valid reasons JK fears men. Tackling this fraught territory simultaneously humanises her and lays bare her misguided logic. Arguments are followed to their logical conclusion and the destination is ugly.
I have returned from National Young Writers’ Festival 2023, proud as punch of what our team put together.
I was one of three board members able to attend the festival in person. Here we are pictured above (Lex Hirst, myself and Michael Daley), having a blast at Newcastle Library where a majority of the events took place.
Being a board member during the festival was mostly a case of being an enthusiastic cheerleader, which feels like a huge honour. We get to experience the events and be ambassadors for the team, but the truth is that it’s the staff who make all the good things happen.
The 2023 team – Chloe Mills, Kanika Chopra, Tina Huang, Matthew Tomich and Tarni Cruickshank – delivered a welcoming, inclusive event bringing together a community of writers to learn and connect over three busy days.
You can watch the digital events online. I especially recommend the Archives for Change discussion, a standout conversation from this year’s event.
We’re often asked when and where our mobile bookshop will be heading next. If you’re keen to keep track, the best way is to follow me on Instagram as this is where we announce our comings and goings.
We are about to do a few months of regular attendance in Fitzroy, for those Melbourne folks who have been looking forward to catching us in person. This August and September we’re in iconic Rose Street, Fitzroy. Come say hi!
Featuring Disabled and d/Deaf artists across Victoria at the CLIMARTE Gallery, this thought-provoking exhibition offered a platform for artists to express their distinct viewpoints on the pressing issues of climate change.
I was asked by curator Louise Marson to speak alongside City of Yarra’s Mayor, Councillor Claudia Nguyen, and artists Jane Trengove and Fiona Tuomy. I spoke about the reckoning the climate movement needs to have on its exclusion of disabled people, and paid tribute to the passion and dedication of the exhibiting artists as climate activists.
This was also my first time exhibiting my own visual art. I started working on collages during the Covid lockdowns as a way to work through my writers block and explore new artistic mediums. When I saw the callout for disabled artists to contribute work about climate change, I knew it was time to challenge myself and enter my work.
The exhibition is open until August 5, and I urge you to visit the gallery and experience the artworks for yourself.
I’m pleased to be reviewing MICF shows for The Age this year. I first started reviewing MICF in the early 2000s for street press such as Beat magazine and in the years since have published literally hundreds of reviews in newspapers, online publications, zines, and radio programs. Comedy, with its mix of storytelling and/with humour (especially when through the prism of the personal being political), is my favourite live performance art form.
Whether talking about office jobs she loathed or bringing Australian culture to Mongolia, Hoo is in the flow. There’s no dark to offset the light, no life lesson to take home, and not a single lull. It’s peppy, positive, and a damn good time.
Scout Boxall is what happens if you’re raised on a diet of educational media, including the nightly news, Oregon Trail, the history channel, and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing: an adult with a true crime and conspiracy theory obsession – one not killed off by working for five years as a court reporter.
As the show unfolds, unravels, tangles, untangles and turns back on itself, we are brought full circle and Davis’ skill at weaving a story you didn’t know you were being told is unveiled. It’s remarkable and gratifying in equal measure.
I was proud to be a part of the M/other event at the Wheeler Centre. The whole weekend was a dream program with so many amazing people discussing the politics of motherhood and parenting. I cannot recommend enough that you watch the sessions once they are up online on the Wheeler Centre website.
I had the pleasure of talking about the body as it relates to pregnancy and post-partum as part of a panel with April Helen-Horton (The Bodzilla), Frankie Valentine and Eleanor Jackson. I could have continued the conversation for hours. There just isn’t enough frank, truthful discussion about how our bodies change when we give birth or the ways that our bodies are controlled, perceived and judged in this era of our lives.
After a long stint as a freelance producer and writer, I’m pleased to be taking on a role at Arts Access Victoria starting this month.
I first worked with AAV in my role delivering Meeting Place, a three-day forum on access and disability arts which took place as part of Alter State Festival in 2022. It gave me some insight into the team and the vital ongoing work that they do. I had my sights set on finding an opportunity to work with them again after that experience, and I’m really excited to join them as a producer in a part-time role.
Being a disabled producer supporting other disabled artists to achieve their artistic goals is dream work, and I can’t wait to dig in.
Back in the early 00s, I was fortunate enough to attend iconic arts event This is Not Art, an umbrella festival that included the National Young Writers’ Festival and National Student Media Conference. I fell in love with this exuberant, chaotic weekend in Newcastle that blended artforms and encouraged cross-pollination between artistic communities.
After attending for a couple of years, I was asked to deliver the National Student Media Conference. It was my first time producing a large-scale event, and this transformed my ambitions for my creative and work life. I fell in love with creative production, artistic direction and delivering artistic events. I also met and worked with many artists who became co-conspirators and peers in future projects. I would come back to the festival many, many times as a presenter and an audience member.
I am grateful that I got to have these years in an era where arts funding was not at the crisis point we now find it in, and where my university and student union invested in me so I could develop as an artist and an arts worker. Like many arts organisations and events, TiNA has changed radically over the years: the National Student Media Conference folded after VSU destroyed student magazines, but thankfully the National Young Writers’ Festival has flourished over the years.
I’m joining the NYWF board this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to give back to a festival and a community that I have benefited greatly from. I want to see young writers have the chance to shape this event and the community it creates, and I look forward to supporting them in this role.