Not so far from here, in digital territory terms at least, Lia Incognita’s work, Grey City, and Bella Li’s, Mawson, have already been featured on the Writers Victoria website as a part of our support and collaboration with the Diverse Writers CHINA project. Today we welcome Wing Yi Chan for her first guest blog with us at Peril!
It is such a great pleasure to be sharing on Peril the process of Writers Victoria’s new project Diverse Writers CHINA (D-Writers) over the next few months.
What is D-Writers?
Diverse Writers CHINA is an initiative designed to connect with and support Chinese-Australian writers and writings. It aims to provide skills development, profile and commission opportunities for contemporary Chinese-Australian writers. It also aims to benefit the broader literary sector in Melbourne and beyond by uncovering a cohort of previously marginalised Australian voices and stories.
The most recent analysis by the Bureau of Statistics shows that as of 2011, Australian residents identified themselves as having Chinese heritage account for around four per cent of Australia’s total population or approximately 866,000 people.[i] The significance of China for Australia is certainly not a new revelation. It was heightened twenty years ago when the government initiated a drive to produce “Asia literate” graduates from Australia’s schools through teaching and learning Chinese. The rationale behind it was to serve Australia’s economic interests.[ii] While some great and lasting improvements on Chinese language and cultural awareness have been made throughout the years, the Chinese-Australian community remains under-represented in mainstream literary education, organisations and publications. In view of the discrepancy between the sizeable community and its literary presence, Writers Victoria launched D-Writers CHINA to forge productive connections between Chinese-Australian writers and the wider literary sector.
Writers Victoria has a history of supporting writers who face barriers in the development of their writing careers, including writers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This project builds on a number of interactions that Writers Victoria has had with China and Chinese-Australian writers, including: hosting the Asian-Pacific Writers Forum at the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival (August 2014) and our participation in the 2014 Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature in Melbourne and Beijing (August and September 2014).
What progress have we made so far?
Since the project was launched in March this year, we have made some exciting progress. We have established new connections with the Chinese-Australian writers’ communities in Melbourne who have organised the Melbourne Chinese Writers Festival within the Chinese community for a number of years. We have plan to collaborate with them and allow the wider literary community in Melbourne to attend their future events.
The project is also supporting the Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA) Bilingual Language Competition which will take place in August and September this year. We reckon it is a valuable opportunity to encourage the substantial Chinese-Australian student cohort in developing writing skills in both Chinese and English.
The Melbourne Writers Festival 2014 ran the inaugural Asia-Pacific Writers Forum to discuss literary-related topics in the region including questions of identity, translation, censorship and readership. The forum was featured in Peril. It will make a comeback this year to showcase more established and emerging Chinese-Australian voices in the field. Stay tune for details of the event in this blog!
How can writers and organisations connect with D-Writers?
So far it is an exciting beginning, we are looking forward to bring together more established and emerging Chinese-Australian writers. If you are from a Chinese-Australian background and are interested in writing, we’d love to know:
- What you’re writing?
- What literary organisations, groups and networks you’re already connected with?
- Have you had any of your work published in Australian or Chinese journals or websites?
- What you need to help your writing career?
For more information, contact: Wing Yi Chan, Diverse Writers CHINA Project Officer, on 03 9094 7842 (Mondays) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.