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New Narratives, New Structures: Fiction


Event Status

If we were to tell the story of publishing in Australia and the UK right now, what would it look like? Would the landscape we described be an equitable one? In order to change the world of publishing, we need to change the story being told, which should be easy in an industry of storytelling professionals – right?

Part of The Stories We Tell Ourselves project, this panel discussion features writers, researchers and publishers from Australia and the UK, discussing urgent questions around representation and inclusion in contemporary fiction publishing, and taking an honest look at just how much progress the industry has made.

Host Joy Francis will be joined by Sharon Duggal, author of The Handsworth Times and Should We Fall Behind and Maxine Beneba Clark, author of Foreign Soil and How Decent Folk Behave; Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Radhiah Chowdhury, researchers from the UK and Australia respectively; Valerie Brandes, Publisher at Jacaranda Books; and Robert Watkins, Publishing Director of Ultimo Press.

This event will be captioned.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves is presented with Spread the Word and the Melbourne City of Literature Office and supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons Board, the British Council and the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season.


Valerie Brandes

Valerie Brandes is the Founder of award-winning, inclusive independent publishing house Jacaranda Books, and is one of the Powerlist’s top 100 Most Influential Black Britons for three consecutive years. Through Jacaranda Books, Valerie has introduced voices from Africa, Asia and the Americas to th... Read more

Anamik Saha

Dr Anamik Saha is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests are in race and the media, with a particular focus on the cultural industries and issues of ‘diversity’. Dr Saha is the author of Rac... Read more

Radhiah Chowdhury

Dr Radhiah Chowdhury is a Muslim Bangladeshi-Australian author, editor and advocate living on unceded Bidjigal Land in Sydney’s West. She has worked as an editor with Scholastic Australia, Allen & Unwin and Giramondo, and is currently a commissioning editor and senior audiobook producer at... Read more

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of the acclaimed memoir The Hate Race, the award-winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the poetry collections Carrying The World and How Decent Folk Behave, and many other books for adults and children. Her forthcoming poetry collection is It’s The S... Read more

Robert Watkins

Publishing Director of Ultimo Press, Robert Watkins, has over 20 years experience in the Australian book industry having worked in book retail, sales, marketing, publicity, publishing and more recently as Head of Literary at Hachette Australia. Robert’s love for a good story well told has led ... Read more

Sharon Duggal

Sharon Duggal writes novels and short stories. Her second novel, Should We Fall Behind, was published in the UK in late 2020 by independent press, Bluemoose Books and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s 2021 Encore Award, selected for Between the Covers, BBC television̵... Read more

Joy Francis

Joy Francis is Executive Director at Words of Colour Productions, a Creative Development Agency for writers, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs of colour and collaborates with organisations and institutions who are ready to actively commit to systemic transformation programmes that inspire and fac... Read more


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