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Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships 2018: Introducing the Fellows (round two)

Read Monday, 9 Jul 2018

Our Hot Desk Fellowships are supported by the Readings Foundation. Our first intake of writers have just finished up; today, our second intake of Fellows begin their stint at the Wheeler Centre.

Each Fellow receives a desk of their own at the Wheeler Centre for two months, plus a $1000 stipend. Learn about the projects they’ll be working on.

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Writers selected for the second intake of Fellowships are: Asiel Adan Sanchez, Candy Bowers, Jamie Marina Lau, Magan Magan, Melissa Manning, Stephen Pham and Christian Taylor.

They’ll be undertaking their work at the Wheeler Centre from Monday 9 July to Friday 14 September.

Photograph of Asiel Adan Sanchez

Asiel Adan Sanchez
Guadalupapi (poetry)

I aim to work on a suite of poems that will eventually contribute to a larger poetry collection. Guadalupapi is a sumptuous play on our Lady of Guadalupe; a Mexican icon, a m/otherland, a queer saviour, sanctity and memory. A homage to Frida Kahlo, a hook-up in Mexico City, a portrait with my mother – these poems will explore the nooks of identity, desire, culture and history.

Photograph of Candy Bowers

Candy Bowers
One The Bear, The Graphic Novel (young adult fiction)

I’m planning to turn my play into a graphic novel for young adults. The original live performance work premiered at Campbelltown Arts Centre and La Boite Theatre Company in 2017. In 2019, the show will hit Melbourne and move around the country, and then the world. The stage work is written completely in rhyme and spoken word poetry.

I hope to push the boundaries of the young adult genre. The work is an allegory for colonisation and smashes  celebrity, materialism and identity politics up against adolescence and survival. It’s experimental and vital.

Photograph of Jamie Marina Lau

Jamie Marina Lau
Fuji and Gunk Baby (fiction)

I’m working on two novel manuscripts. Fuji is a heavily research-based project involving entertainment culture and its interactions with virtual reality technology and the webcam industry. The book is a middle-aged actress’ navigation through the hierarchies of the biggest global industry in a near future. [It’s set in] sandy and overly hot Los Angeles; merged with the familiar nothing-spaces of cheaply commissioned virtual simulations.

The second book is Gunk Baby, which focusses on themes of suburbia and cult culture. It follows Leen, an international exchange student, stuck in the mundanity of the ‘Heights’, and looks at themes of surveillance in spaces that are designed to be safe – and boredom leading to ritual and violence. Both books will experiment with hybridised poetry and non-fiction forms.

Photograph of Magan Magan

Magan Magan
From Grains to Gold (poetry)

From Grains to Gold is a collection of poems; I have been working on the book since 2015. The collection is a confrontation of who we think we are, and the transformation of who we actually are. It is an alignment of our personhood and our greater purpose of existence: love. 

Photograph of Melissa Manning

Melissa Manning
South West (short story collection)

South West is a collection of stories which illuminate the magnified impacts of single events on our lives. Centred around a novella, inspired by the short story ‘Woodsmoke’, the stories are quietly transgressive; their characters hamstrung by inertia and shaped by the unexpected moments that challenge ideas of what their lives might be.

In ‘Woodsmoke’, a woman tries to reconcile the elliptical shape her life has taken. In ‘Boy’, a man makes a wooden bed for the son he did not know he had. In ‘Muck’, a woman reflects on the flood that swept away much of her rural town.

Photograph of Stephen Pham

Stephen Pham
5+5 and Vietnamatta (playwriting/essay collection)

I will be working on 5+5, an experimental, collaborative playwriting project produced by Performing Lines. It will be written alongside fellow SWEATSHOP writers Winnie Dunn, Shirley Le, Maryam Azam and Peter Polites.

If time permits, I will also further work on my manuscript Vietnamatta, a collection of essays. Specifically, I will be working on an essay exploring the evolving symbolism of cars across The Fast and the Furious movie franchise.  

Photograph of Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor
Icebreaker (speculative climate fiction/theatre)

Icebreaker is a piece of speculative climate theatre that follows the meeting of two strangers – a raging mother and a reclusive teenager – on board an Antarctic icebreaker bound for the last glacier in existence. Neither are quite sure how to live their lives in this new and nonsensical world of last-chance tourism and unflinching optimism. Because what are you supposed to do when you don’t feel like you’ve inherited a future? 

Climate change is an almost incomprehensible issue. So with this play I’m aiming to unpack the typical apocalyptic narratives and explore the more psycho-social consequences, to try and make the concept more familiar, intimate and urgent. Fundamentally, I think the play is about the place of hope in a dangerously uncertain world.

Find out more about our Hot Desk Fellowship programme here.

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