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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.


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 & Unwi... Read more

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 s... Read more

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. Her work is anthologised in Growing Up African in Australia (Bl... Read more

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 Ne... Read more

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 Meanjin, Cordite Poetry Review, Voiceworks, Verge and Juked.  ... Read more

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. Her debut stand-up hour, Bella Green is Charging For ... Read more

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.