State of the (Writing) Nation: Alice Pung

State of the (Writing) Nation: Alice Pung

The State of the (Writing) Nation is Writers Victoria’s annual address from a prominent Australian writer. It's a chance to reflect on what's happening and where we're heading in Australian literature and publishing. Award-winning novelist, memoirist and editor Alice Pung will give the 2021 address.

William Hazlitt wrote that ‘the smallest pain in our little finger causes us more concern than the destruction of our fellow human beings’. In her address, Pung considers what kind of writing matters in the face of our small hurts and large griefs, and takes an unflinching look at the excessive weight we place on literature to ameliorate our feelings. If you’re only half-grudgingly woke, is it better to just stay asleep? Pung explores the pitfalls of this self-motivated obsession with using literature to educate, and examine whose expense it comes at. 

Shu-Ling Chua, author of Echoes, also delivers a short reading, following an introduction from Writers Victoria patron Christos Tsiolkas.

You can read the transcript of Alice Pung’s speech here

Presented in partnership with Writers Victoria. All proceeds from this event support writers who experience financial barriers to access professional development and networking opportunities

The online bookseller for this event was Amplify Bookstore

Who?

Portrait of Alice Pung

Alice Pung

Alice Pung is an award-winning Australian writer whose books include the bestselling memoirs Unpolished Gem (2006) and Her Father's Daughter (2011), and the novel Laurinda (2014). She is the editor of the anthology Growing Up Asian in Australia (2008), and created the Marly books for Penguin's Our Australian Girl series (2015). Her latest book is the novel One Hundred Days (2021).

Portrait of Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of six novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the international bestseller The Slap, won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold, as well as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year.

Portrait of Shu-Ling Chua

Shu-Ling Chua

Shu-Ling Chua is a Melbourne-based (formerly Canberra-based) essayist, critic and poet, whose work has appeared in Peril magazine, Lindsay, Meanjin, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop, among others. Her debut essay collection, Echoes, was published in 2020.