Selfies from WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange) emerging writers


Wrice_logo 2An immersive writing residency is an incredible way to gain knowledge about a country, oneself and fellow writers, the benefits of the exchange can travel far beyond the residency period.

WrICE brings together five high-profile Australian and Asian writers for an Asia-based collaborative residency, followed by an event at the Melbourne Writers Festival.  Last year, the residency was held in Penang, Malaysia and Singapore.  The inaugural WrICE fellows were Australians – novelist Melissa Lucashenko, poet and writer Maxine Beneba Clarke; Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, Singapore-based writer Robin Hemley, Malaysian writers Bernice Chauly and Eddin Khoo, and Phillippines based Laurel Fantauzzo;  RMIT creative writing students and graduates – Amarlie Foster, Harriet McKnight and Jennifer Down.

This year the writers participating in WrICE Vietnam were Suchen Christine Lim (Singapore), BaoChan Nguyen (Vietnam), Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz (the Philippines), Nyein Way (Myanmar), Cate Kennedy(Australia), Omar Musa(Australia), Xu Xi (Hong Kong) and RMIT creative writing students and graduates – Melody Newell, Joe Rubbo and Laura Stortenbeker (Australia).

Peril is proud to be a media partner with WrICE – as a platform that creates opportunities for emerging and established writers, we are always interested in the conversations that are generated in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region.

In our conversation with the wonderful WrICE team – Directors Associate Professors David Carlin and Francesca Rendle-Short, and Clare Renner; and Project Manager Ali Barker – we decided to invite the emerging writers to reflect about their experiences via video selfies.  One of the great aspect about the WrICE program is that it creates opportunities for emerging writers to work in a supportive environment with established writers; a dream-like writing and workshopping space to enable a creation of new work and deepening of ideas.  It sounds almost too good to be true, however, the self-reflections from the emerging writers below is testament to this transformative cross-border immersive experience.

The writers featured here are – Jennifer Down, Harriet McKnight, Joseph Rubbo, Laura Stortenbeker, Amarlie Foster and Melody Paloma.

We asked them to:
1) tell a story – “your most extraordinary moment as part of WRICE” and;
2) a short introduction to themselves and their work

Of the WrICE emerging writers, Harriet McKnight, Amarlie Foster, Laura Stortenbeker, Joe Rubbo and Melody Paloma will join Sean Dooley, Ni Made Purnamasari, Aan Mansyur at the Emerging Writers Festival on Monday 1st June for a Travel Slide Night.

Here’s a little two minute (or so) insight into their experience.  In the videos, some of the memories shared include Melody Newell’s on the value of having a daily writing practice and the precious time spent workshopping together at the end of each writing day; Laura Stortenbeker’s (and Joe Rubbo’s!) stand-out memory was when she and other writers were invited into award winning author and poet Cate Kennedy’s hotel room to hear her read a story while crowding her bed; Joe Rubbo’s other highlight was meeting Malaysian-Australian slam poet champion, hip hop artist and author Omar Musa who he described as taking writers under his wing; Amarlie Foster was struggling through a scene in a story when Philippines-based college instructor and author Laurel Fantauzzo told her to trust herself “on the bits that matter and don’t worry about the rest”; Harriet McKnight’s special moment was in the first workshop afternoon, when she realised that established and emerging writers together shared a vulnerability in their writing; Jennifer Down’s is a “constellation of events” where the nature of the residency and the resulting intimacy enabled a reveal of self “in small ways and with shy gestures”.

We hope you enjoy!

Jennifer Down is a WrICE 2014 alumni when the residency was held in Penang, Malaysia and Singapore.

Harriet McKnight is a WrICE 2014 alumni when the residency was held in Penang, Malaysia and Singapore.

Amarlie Foster is a WrICE 2014 alumni when the residency was held in Penang, Malaysia and Singapore.

Joseph Rubbo attended the 2015 residency in Hoi An and Hanoi, Vietnam.

Laura Stortenbeker attended the 2015 residency in Hoi An and Hanoi, Vietnam.

Melody Paloma attended the 2015 residency in Hoi An and Hanoi, Vietnam.

All of the writers bios can be found here.

The Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program(WriCE) is an initiative of nonfictionLab at RMIT University, generously supported by the Copyright Agency

The Emerging Writers’ Festival’s Travel Slide Night to be held 7:30pm, Monday 1st June 2015, Bella Union Trades Hall – details here 

Author: Lian Low

Lian Low is a writer, editor and spoken word artist. She’s currently at large in Peril‘s outer orbit. Previously editor-in-chief (2010-2014) , prose editor (2009-2014) and on Peril‘s Board until 2016. Find her on and Twitter @Lian__Low

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