Books, reading & writing
The Wheeler Centre
Writing in Exile: Samah Sabawi
Samah Sabawi at the Wheeler Centre
‘For Palestinian writers, we write for our lives,’ Samah Sabawi has written. ‘We write to exist.’
Sabawi is an award-winning playwright, author, essayist and poet. She’s also a policy advisor for Palestinian policy network Al-Shabaka, and the second featured speaker in our PEN Writing in Exile series.
Sabawi's family left Palestine following Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip when she was a baby in 1967. She’s lived and worked across the globe throughout her life, but retains strong ties to the place of her birth. In Australia, she’s perhaps best known for her play, Tales of a City by the Sea, which won two Drama Victoria awards in 2016 and has also been rapturously received by audiences in Palestine, Canada and Malaysia. In the same year, the prolific Sabawi contributed to the anthology I Remember My Name, which received Middle East Monitor’s 2016 Palestine Book Award. Her most recent play, THEM, premieres later in May 2019 at the La Mama Courthouse.
Sabawi’s writing is concerned with displacement, conflict and diaspora. ‘Through writing our stories, our poems and songs,’ she has written, ‘we reconstruct our erased past, assert our present and try to shape our future.’ Appearing live at the Wheeler Centre, she talks to Sami Shah about writing for her life.
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.
Working with Words: Brian Castro
Brian Castro is a celebrated Adelaide-based novelist and poet. He passed on advice from his English grandmother, explained why chopping wood is good practice for writing polished sentences and revealed all about his exploits as a boarding-school subversive.
Antony Beevor: History and Hubris
English historian Antony Beevor is credited with transforming the military history genre. He’s breathed new life into the popular understanding of World War II – holding cherished national myths up to harsh light and enthralling readers with his gift for storytelling.
For his troubles, he’s been knighted and he’s topped bestseller lists, but he’s also sometimes hit raw nerves at…
Double Booked Club
Tony Birch and Tara June Winch
For July’s Double Booked Club, we’ll see two major Australian talents discussing two of this year’s most highly anticipated novels.
Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, now based in France, whose debut novel, Swallow the Air, and short-story collection, After the Carnage, have won many awards, critical acclaim – and the affection of readers. Her second novel…
Pass it On: Preserving Australian Indigenous Languages
‘Budgerigar’, ‘quandong’, ‘Torana’, ‘Canberra’ – there are many Aboriginal words in everyday use by both non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians. What do we gain from knowing and learning First Nations words? And how can we embed more traditional language into the daily lives of all Australians?
At least 250 Indigenous Australian languages were spoken on this continent in 1788. Today only…
The Next Big Thing
Hot Desk Edition #1
In this edition of the Next Big Thing, glimpse works-in-progress from our first intake of 2019 Hot Desk Fellows – fresh from ten weeks of work on their projects inside the Wheeler Centre.
Featuring new writing from Vanessa Giron, Yvette Holt, Josefina Huq, Nimity James, Adalya Nash Hussein, Kaitlyn Plyley, Cher Tan and Thabani Tshuma.
Anything and everything in Books, reading & writing from across our archives.
Lethem Slams Brooklyn’s Writers
“Brooklyn is repulsive with novelists, it’s cancerous with novelists.” So opined acclaimed novelist Jonathan Lethem in a profile in the LA Times this weekend. The comment has raised eyebrows - in Brooklyn and further afield - because few writers of recent vintage have been more closely associated with the city. Partly because of his disillusionment with Brooklyn, Lethem moved to southern California last year…
Lunchbox / Soapbox
Emerging Writers’ Festival: Sam George-Allen on Literary Sexting: Scum Mag & Online Sex Writing
The Interrobang: A Festival of Questions
Truth is stranger than fiction. Can fiction be stronger than truth? Geraldine Brooks and Mark Colvin
Explore these other subjects, across our site.