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The Stories We Tell Ourselves: An Online Series Exploring Representation in Publishing

Read Wednesday, 24 Nov 2021

The Wheeler Centre is excited to be partnering with Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency, and the Melbourne City of Literature Office, on The Stories We Tell Ourselves, a free online series exploring power, representation and diversity in the publishing industry. 

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves is a series of events, videos and writing, starting Monday 29 November and running throughout the week, that explores equity and inclusion in writing and publishing. This online event will bring together over 20 writers, publishers, agents and researchers from the UK and Australia, for conversations about the power of stories to help us reimagine, rethink and rebuild the world around us.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves asks: what are the stories we need to tell each other? What are the stories we need to be listening to and reading? And, critically, whose voices are telling those stories and how do we get to hear them?

These discussions will take place across three digital events: New Narratives, New Structures: Fiction, New Narratives, New Structures: Children’s and YA, and Representation, Voice and Agency. Complementing these panel discussions, a suite of commissioned online content will be published on our website, including think pieces written by independent publishers on the change they believe is most essential to see in their industry, as well as 12 commissioned ‘letters to my past or future self’ written by established and emerging Australian and UK writers. To accompany these letters, the writers will be paired with an international counterpart to read each other’s letters and discuss the points of connection and difference between their experiences in a series of video dialogues.

‘The Wheeler Centre is thrilled to be part of this important collaboration, designed to change the conversation and shift the dial on inclusion and equity in publishing in the UK and Australia,’ says Caro Llewellym, Wheeler Centre CEO. ‘We look forward to sharing the insights, reflections and creative exchanges between the wonderful writers, publishers, agents and researchers, through written pieces and digital events accessible globally for everyone to watch, enjoy and consider.’

The Stories We Tell Ourselves will build new connections and publishing industry links between Britain and Australia, and engage new audiences with the work of diverse writers and independent presses. ‘At a time when literary spaces have been closed down, and the possibility of attending international writers festivals to make new connections, and create dialogue with writers across the oceans has been limited, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to make new connections, and participate in conversations about who we are, and where we are now, as an international literary community through The Stories We Tell Ourselves,’ says author Maxine Beneba Clarke.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves is presented as part of the UK/Australia season, a partnership between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The online content for this series will be available to view on the Wheeler Centre website on Monday 29 November.

The three digital panels will take place throughout the week and are available to book now. For more information, visit our events page.

Featured writers include:  Alex Falase-Koya (UK), Burhana Islam (UK),  Elle McNicoll (UK), Maame Blue (UK), MC Angel aka Shauna O’Briain (UK), Sareeta Domingo (UK), Sharon Duggal (UK),  Alice Boyle (AUS), Cath Moore (AUS), Jasmine McGaughey (AUS), Maxine Beneba Clarke (AUS), Mykaela Saunders (AUS) and Rafeif Ismail (AUS).

Featured publishers include: Valerie Brandes (Jacaranda Books UK), Aimée Felone (Knights of, UK  Crystal Mahey-Morgan (OWN IT!, UK); Marisa Pintado (Hardie Grant Egmont, AUS), Robert Watkins (Ultimo Press, AUS), Rachel Bin Salleh (Magabala Books, AUS).

Featured agents include: Emma Paterson (Aitken Alexander, UK) and Grace Heifetz (Left Bank Literary, AUS).

Featured researchers include: Dr Anamik Saha (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK), Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold (Glasgow University, UK), Dr Denise Chapman (Monash University, AUS) and Dr Radiah Chowdhury (AUS).

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.

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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.