Five writers from the Asia Pacific will take part in a collaborative residency as part of RMIT’s Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE).
The writers who have been awarded the fellowships are Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji), Lawrence Lacambra Ypil (The Philippines), DAI Fan (China), Eliza Vitri Handayani and Maggie Tiojakin both from Indonesia. They will join Australian writers Alice Pung and Michele Lee on their residences along with RMIT writing students Peter Clynes, Ara Sarafian and Mia Wotherspoon in Guangzhou and Yangshuo, China.
WrICE Co-Director, Associate Professor Francesca Rendle-Short said the Asia Pacific writers will make a wonderful contribution to the rich cultural mix that WrICE is known for along with Australian writers with Anglo, Cambodian and Hmong heritages. “I can’t wait to hear what sort of conversations all these writers will have together across the WrICE table and through the sharing of writing and their culture. I have no doubt it will be a genuine exchange of the highest order,” said Rendle-Short.
Fan, a Chinese writer and Professor of English at Sun Yat-sen University will host the group travelling to China. “The Sun Yat-sen University Centre for English-language Creative Writing cannot wait to welcome the WrICE group for this special opportunity to interact with local people and culture,” said Fan.
A poet and essayist from The Philippines, Lacambra Ypil’s first book of poems, The Highest Hiding Place was given the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award. Lacambra Ypil said WrICE will give him the chance to think what it means to be a writer in the Asia-Pacific region with its particular historical conditions and aesthetic traditions. “Working in the company of other writers will allow me to explore these concerns and how they shape the trajectory of my own writing,” he said.
Vitri Handaya said WrICE will enable her to get plenty of insight into the literary scene and conditions for writing and publishing in the countries where the other participants are working in. “That awareness can help to increase literary traffic between the countries, as we may see opportunities to market and promote works in countries we wouldn’t consider before,” she said.
The residency in China will be followed by a workshop and public events in Melbourne in association with the Melbourne Writers Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre and Castlemaine arts in August.
Story: Alison Barker and Wendy Little