WrICE, (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program) a program of residencies, workshops and events, is building an international network of writers and writing to foster intercultural conversations, celebrate diversity, and change the stories we tell and listen to.
WrICE Melbourne 2016 kicked off at Footscray Community Arts Centre, with a series of events as part of Melbourne Writers Festival. The week culminated in the launch of The Near and the Far WrICE Anthology (Scribe), The Anthology was launched by WrICE writer Alice Pung, and features writers from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
At Muslim Feminism Panel Eliza Vitri Handayani and Shakira Hussein dissected the intersection of feminism and Muslim identity. Later that day a large audience was captivated by a series of diverse readings during Westside Storytelling Live Event: Change, with writers and performers including Alan Brough, Larry Lacambra Ypil and Alice Pung, sharing their stories of transformation.
The Chinese Writer’s Festival, held at Richmond Library, featured local and international Chinese Writers, aiming to showcase Chinese-Australian literary achievements and celebrate diversity in Melbourne’s cultural landscape. Author Xu Xi gave the keynote address — she discussed the intricacies of her Indonesian-Chinese-Hong Kong-American identity as a writer. Also speaking at the event were Lei Tao (Xian), Alice Pung, Ouyang Yu, Belinda Jiang, Wang Ruobing and more.
The Official Launch of WrICE 2016 took place at RMIT Design Hub. International guest writers Alice Pung, Michele Lee, DAI Fan (China), Eliza Vitri Handayani and Maggie Tiojakin (Indonesia), Larry Ypil (Philippines) and more performed an intercultural collage of readings, which inspired much laughter and reflection. WrICE directors David Carlin and Francesca Rendle-Short also made the long-awaited announcement for next year’s WrICE participants, who include the much-loved and well established Melbourne author Christos Tsiolkas and award-winning Indigenous Australian writer Ellen van Neerven.
Acclaimed writers from Australia, Chine, Indonesia and the Philippines shared their work and experiences at the Castlemaine Theatre Royal mid-week, during their residency — inspired by their immersion in new cultures through the WrICE Program.
At Protest and Rebellion, held at ACMI, Eliza Vitri Handayani and artist Molly Crabapple discussed the power of art as a protest tool. This session was a reminder that in Australia, for the most part, we are very fortunate to enjoy freedom of expression and thought and press.
A showcase event was the Writers Across Borders — where the WrICE writers answered the question: how does cultural exchange in writing and ideas work? David Carlin brought together the five WrICE fellows from around the Asia-Pacific, as well as our own Michele Lee and Alice Pung, to talk about how cultural exchange in writing and ideas works, and to get to the heart of what writing does. There was also Asia Pacific Narratives, in which guest writers explored the question: what does it mean to live in the Asia-Pacific in a literary context?
Queer culture was celebrated at the Queer Literary Salon at Bell Union with WrICE writers Larry Ypil and Francesca Rendle-Short performing. Hosted by Geraldine Hickey, the literary salon held special guests Adolfo Aranjuez, Ican Coyote, Amy Middleton and Rebecca Shaw for interviews, true tales, readings and live illustrations.
To follow WrICE and see current events visit www.wrice.com.au or look up Wrice Writers Program on Facebook. WrICE is generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.