The Next Big Thing

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Now and Then

Reinvention, transformation, starting over – we’ve all dreamed of doing it, but what comes after? And what happens to the self you leave behind?

In this bumper edition of The Next Big Thing, we’re charting the through-lines that connect us to our former selves. Where does who we used to be end, and who we are now begin? These writers are speaking to and challenging the separation of selves.

In Yves Rees’ memoir All About Yves, they relearn how to live in the world with a new understanding of their gender. In Daughter of the River Country, Dianne O’Brien tells the story of a life unknowingly defined by the Stolen Generations. Sara El Sayed’s Muddy People uses humour and heart to explore coming of age in an Egyptian Muslim family. SJ Norman’s haunting, transporting short fiction collection Permafrost queers gothic and romantic traditions.  Bella Green’s memoir Happy Endings is the bold and funny journey of a young woman entering the entertaining but surprisingly mundane sex work industry. And Derek Chan explores the temporal disruption of self-perception in his poem ‘Where there’s water’, published in the latest issue of Voiceworks.

Join us on Instagram Live to hear these exciting writers share readings about past and present selves.

The running order will be released on the Wheeler Centre Instagram page (@wheelercentre) prior to the event day. On the night, instructions posted to our stories will direct you to each speaker’s personal Instagram page as they go live for their reading.

To watch this event, you will need to have access to an Instagram account. While not essential for viewing, by ordering a ticket you are signing up to receive a reminder on the day to tune in.

The online bookseller for this event is Readings.

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Portrait of Yves Rees

Yves Rees

Dr Yves Rees (they/them) is a writer and historian living on unceded Wurundjeri land. At present, Yves is a lecturer in history at La Trobe University and co-host of the history podcast Archive Fever. Their memoir All About Yves: Notes from a Transition is out in September 2021 with Allen & Unwin.

Portrait of Dianne O'Brien

Dianne O'Brien

Dianne O’Brien (known as Aunty Di) is currently the Chairperson of Mingaletta Corporation, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community hub. In 2017, she was named ‘NSW Grandparent of the Year’. She has held many senior positions in government organisations and has also worked in legal services and as a drug and alcohol counsellor. She lives on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia.

Portrait of Sara El Sayed

Sara El Sayed

Sara El Sayed is a writer based in Meanjin (Brisbane). She teaches at the Queensland University of Technology, where she is completing a Master of Fine Arts. Her debut memoir, Muddy People, was published via Black Inc. in August 2021.

Portrait of SJ Norman

SJ Norman

SJ Norman is an artist, writer and curator. Their career has so far spanned 17 years and has embraced a diversity of disciplines, including solo and ensemble performance, installation, sculpture, text, video and sound. Their work has been commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney, Performance Space New York, Venice International Performance Art Week, and the National Gallery of Australia, to name a few.

Portrait of Derek Chan

Derek Chan

Derek Chan is a Melbourne-based writer who holds a First-Class Honours in Literary Studies from Monash University. His poems have appeared in both domestic and international journals such as MeanjinCordite Poetry Review, Voiceworks, Verge and Juked

Portrait of Bella Green

Bella Green

Bella Green is a stand-up comedian, writer and sex worker living in Melbourne, Australia. She got her start in comedy by telling jokes in brothels to anyone who'd listen. Now she tells jokes in some of the best comedy rooms in the country.

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing takes place every month at the Moat and is a cherished Melbourne institution. It's the place to be if you want to hear great emerging writers read from new and adventurous work.

Enjoy a delicious drink and a bite to eat, while sampling writing from tomorrow's best and brightest literary stars.