The Next Big Thing
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In this edition of the Next Big Thing, glimpse works-in-progress from our third and last intake of 2019 Hot Desk Fellows – fresh from ten weeks of work on their projects inside the Wheeler Centre.
Featuring new writing from Nic Alea, Geetha Balakrishnan, Christine Davey, Hayley Lawson-Smith, Gabriella Munoz, Jennifer Nguyen, Oliver Reeson and Jasmine Shirrefs.
Nic Alea is a queer interdisciplinary writer with a BA in Creative Writing. They hold fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation and the Wheeler Centre. They have work published in Muzzle Magazine, the Paris American, Write Bloody, BOAAT, Crab Fat, Reservoir, decomP and others. In 2014, Nic was rated one of San Francisco Weekly's 'Best Writers without a Book' and has performed at the National Queer Arts Festival (US), the Santa Cruz Music Festival (US), Lit Quake (US), and the 2019 Emerging Writers’ Festival (AUS). Nic works at a public library and is invested in documentation as a way to reclaim and integrate the fragmented self. Originally from California, they now live in Narrm.
Geetha Balakrishnan is a fiction writer from Sydney, Australia, whose work explores issues of race, gender, exile, and loss in the legacy of colonialism. Her work is deeply influenced by her Sri Lankan Tamil background and her political perspective on the 30-year civil war informs the way she interprets the rise of identity politics in Australia. Balakrishnan's work seeks to disrupt simplified tropes that have historically represented minorities in Western literature, using sophisticated characters that reflect the experiences of those living on the margins of dominant cultures.
Christine Davey is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, director and PhD candidate. With over 30 years of experience in theatre in Australia, the UK and US, she is dedicated to telling stories through a myriad of mediums. She runs an independent theatre company – Skin Of Our Teeth Productions – has won awards such as the Wal Cherry Play of the year, the 101 New Plot Award and the Playbox Mentorship Award, and has had her work performed by companies such as Griffin, La MaMa, Melbourne Theatre Company, the Malthouse, the Butterfly Cub and the Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. As a journalist she has had worked published by organisations such as the Age, the Big Issue, and the Times.
Hayley holds a Masters of Writing for Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts, and was the 2019 playwright in residence at the Historic Billilla Mansion, Brighton, during which time she conducted playwriting workshops with local young theatre-makers and the University of the Third Age. She has completed an internship with Ranters Theatre Company and Creative VaQi Theatre, and residencies with Access to Arts / Arts Access Australia. Hayley has performed at various community and independent theatre companies, and has had plays produced at the Butterfly Club, Baggage Productions and Gasworks Arts Park. Her plays are published by YouthPLAYS.com and Australianplays.org.
Gabriella Munoz is a Mexican-Australian writer, editor and translator. Her essays and reviews have been published in the Victorian Writer, Eureka Street, Mascara Literary Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and many other places. Her fiction has been published in Djed Press. Gabriella was the 2018 Digital Writer in Residence at Writers Victoria.
Jennifer Nguyen's writing has appeared in Scum Mag, the Lifted Brow (online), Meanjin (online) and Lor Journal, among others. Her first book of poems is ‘When I die slingshot my ashes onto the surface of the moon’ (Subbed In, 2019). Currently, Jennifer is a member of West Writers Group and an editorial mentee at Djed Press. Previously, she was a creative producer for Emerging Writers' Festival and an alumni of Winter Tangerine and Kundiman Online workshop ‘To carry within us an orchard, to eat’.
Oliver Reeson is an essayist and screenwriter. They co-created and wrote Homecoming Queens, a web series commissioned by SBS about chronic illness in your 20s.
Jasmine Shirrefs (they/them) is a hospo worker, zine maker, writer and social work student on Boon Wurrung land. They are a hot desk fellow at the Wheeler Centre in 2019 and have recently been published in Overland. Jasmine often writes about deafness, community and identity in an age of information.
Want to meet tomorrow’s literary stars today? Let us introduce you.
Our long-running Next Big Thing series is our showcase for great new local talent. You’ll hear emerging writers reading from bold and adventurous work. Enjoy a delicious drink and a bite to eat at the Moat, while your future favourite authors knock your socks off.