Meet Linh Nguyen! As one of EWF’s 2017 Creative Producers, Linh’s been working hard on events for our Late Night Lit and The Early Words series’. Rocking an impressive list of achievements, a formidable writing talent, and a commitment to championing diverse voices in Australian writing, EWF is exceptionally lucky to have this emerging talent as part of our team.
What are you working on outside of EWF?
At the moment I’m doing my Honours degree in Comparative Literature, focusing on contemporary postcolonial and diasporic Vietnamese writing. I’m also an Arts & Culture subeditor at Lot’s Wife (Monash’s student Magazine) and I’m currently interning at the Lifted Brow. Aside from that, I help run the Melbourne Literary Salon.
The most exciting project I’m working on at the moment is Liminal Magazine with my friend Leah McIntosh. It’s an online publication dedicated to Asian-Australian artists and creatives. The magazine was borne out of a frustration with the scarcity of Asian representation in Australia’s media landscape. Liminal magazine is a means to hold discussions about race and identity while also celebrating the multitude of amazing things that are being done by Asian-Australians today.
You’re also on the Wheeler Centre FoH team and you’ve worked on the Small Press Network’s Independent Publishing Conference. What draws you to writers’ festivals and events?
Yeah, I’m a bit of an events/festival junkie! I’ve volunteered with Next Wave Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, JLF Melbourne… Melbourne always has so much stuff on, and I make an effort to try and see everything, or as close to that as I can. I think it’s really important to have spaces in the public sphere where critical engagement and cultural discussion can occur. Arts festivals are unique in that they create an environment where unexpected, chance encounters can arise; you can come into contact with artists and ideas that you might not have sought out on your own. I love the dynamic and—at times—manic energy of festivals; there’s a special kind of rush that comes from being in a live, physical setting, in real time.
Have you been to any standout events lately?
There’s some absolutely incredible things happening at the community level right now. I went to ‘Where We At?’, a great panel discussion hosted by The Pin, about the state of race, culture and identity in contemporary Australia. Also, Asia TOPA had some really interesting events. My favourites included Club Ate, a party/performance event in celebration of the queer Asia-Pacific diaspora, and Lukautim Solwara (look out for the ocean), an immersive performance held in ACCA’s Sovereignty exhibition.
The best thing about being a Creative Producer?
It’s really tremendous the degree of creative autonomy you get as a Producer; essentially, a portion of the program is entrusted to you! As Creative Producer, I see my role really as being a facilitator for other artists and writers—for me, this means advocating on behalf of the voices that I wish to see represented more; giving a platform for artist that I feel should be on everyone’s radar, you know? It’s incredibly exciting—and scary!— to be working with writers who you look up to and admire. I have the tendency to be a bit of a fangirl, so it’s hard for me not to be too gushing and keep it strictly ‘profesh’. For EWF I have the opportunity to program some ridiculously talented people, so I’m extremely lucky and trying very hard not to lose my cool.
Also, we have such a great team! Izzy, Will, and Else were all once Creative Producers, so they’ve been extremely supportive.
What have you read and loved recently? What’s next on the list?
I’ve just finished Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees, and I’m in the middle of Thi Bui’s graphic novel The Best We Could Do. I also met one of my idols, Madeleine Thien, when she came to the Wheeler Centre in March — everyone has to go read her staggeringly beautiful and masterful novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Since I’m in the midst of Honours, I don’t see myself reading much for pleasure, but two books that I’ve recently acquired are Alexandra Kleeman’s You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Briohny Doyle’s The Island Will Sink.