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In an increasingly connected world where the question of immigration is often an anxious or heated one, being a newcomer can be uncomfortable, funny and weird. But it also makes for some great stories.
Each month at Joe's Pub in New York, This Alien Nation stages a celebration of immigration – inviting a handful of interesting, talented writers and performers to present stories about migration. Typically, those stories run the gamut from heartbreaking to hilarious – encountering language barriers, cultural missteps, rumbles, romance and more.
For the first time in Australia, host Sofija Stefanovic welcomes some of her favourite outsiders for a celebration of elsewhere and right here. Come for the stories and leave with some feelings – with restaurateur and Speed Date a Muslim founder Hana Assafiri, writer Khalid Warsame, TV and radio funny guy Sam Pang, journalist George Megalogenis, author and lawyer Alice Pung, musician Vahideh Eisaei and cultural historian and critic Maria Tumarkin.
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Paperback will be our bookseller at this event.
Sofija Stefanovic is a MothStorySLAM winner and a founding faculty member of The School of Life in Melbourne. She hosts This Alien Nation and the popular literary salon Women of Letters New York, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Elle and the Guardian. Her debut memoir Miss Ex-Yugoslavia (April 2018) is a sometimes funny sometimes dark story about being an immigrant kid during the Yugoslavian Wars.
‘I am counting on you not to grow up into one of those sensible, strategic people who always calculate odds and risks before acting. Trust me, there are enough of them in the world already.’
According to Helen Garner, ‘Nobody can write like Maria Tumarkin’. A writer and cultural historian, Tumarkin is the author of four books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, Otherland and the boundary- breaking, award-winning Axiomatic. She teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.
Sam Pang is a writer, presenter and broadcaster. His television credits include the hugely popular Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever and SBS’s coverage of The Eurovision Song Contest.
Alice Pung is an award-winning writer, editor, teacher and lawyer based in Melbourne. Her books include Close to Home, On John Marsden, the memoirs Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, and the novel Laurinda. She is the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson.
Khalid Warsame is a writer, photographer, and arts producer who lives in Melbourne. His essays and fiction have appeared in the Lifted Brow, Overland, the Big Issue, Cordite Poetry Review, and LitHub. He has previously edited fiction for the Lifted Brow, worked as a creative producer at the Footscray Community Arts Centre and Co-Directed the National Young Writers Festival. He is currently working on his first novel.
George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. The Australian Moment won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for his ABC documentary series Making Australia Great.
Hana Assafiri has dedicated her professional and private life to removing barriers that prevent women from living prosperous lives. By opening her first restaurant in 1998, the popular Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy–now an institution for many Victorians, Hana has provided employment opportunities for marginalised members of the community. In 2015, she was awarded TimeOut’s Legend Award for her flair for innovation and entrepreneurship. Internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei also chose to include Hana in his famous collection of portraits of local social activists.
Vahideh Eisaei grew up in an artistic family with a love for the arts, music and poetry. She completed her musical training in Tehran, and subsequently achieved a Master of Music at the University of Western Australia.
For more than a decade, Vahideh has been playing the ghanun/qanun, an instrument rarely heard in Persian music, in different ensembles – performing in Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Besides this, she has been conducting research projects on children's music among new and emerging communities in Perth, Australia.
An alchemy of writers. An explosion of ideas.
Do you like your military history with a side of hip-hop? How about fabulist fiction beside trailblazing journalism? This May, take your brain out for a spin. You’ll meet Pulitzer-winners, YA stars, eminent historians, poets, rappers and some of the world’s best living novelists.
Presented in partnership with