This week we answer your questions!! What steps did we take to get our manuscripts ready to submit? Were we spurned by mates who didn’t turn up to our launches (and will we name and shame them if we were)? And how are you supposed to deal with reviews on social media? Do you respond? What if you’re tagged in a bad one? We give you our take on some answers. We talk about the Starry, One Star Night, the brainchild of Bram Presser and Writers Vic, laugh at the fact Kate has her very own insta hashtag to keep track of what she reads (#whatkatereadnext if you want to follow along!) and ask Pink if she’ll mention our books on Insta (as she did The Tattooist of Auschwitz).
Then we speak to Adult Wol Akec and Khalid Warsame, both contributors to Growing Up African in Australia, (Black Inc) edited by Maxine Beneba Clarke with Magan Magan & Ahmed Yussuf.
Adut Wol Akec is a South Sudanese–born Australian writer and poet who lives in Melbourne. She has a Bachelor of Science, majoring in environmental management. In 2018 she was a highly commended recipient of The Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter grant program for developing writers.
Khalid Warsame is a writer, photographer, and arts producer who lives in Melbourne. His essays and fiction have appeared in The Lifted Brow, Overland Literary Journal, The Big Issue, Cordite Poetry Review, and LitHub. He has previously edited fiction for The Lifted Brow, worked as a creative producer at the Footscray Community Arts Centre and Co-Directed the National Young Writers Festival. He is currently working on his first novel.
Adut’s first writing memory is of an English teacher finding a poem written in the back of one of her books, and telling her is was excellent. Adut says:
‘I was shocked that it was taken seriously.’
Adut went on to be involved with the writing collective Steel Nomads.
Khalid speaks about attending an event featuring writers such as Omar Musa, Christos Tsolkias. He was introduced to Omar and says:
‘He just seemed like a normal guy, and it..shattered the illusion of writers being something that they are not.’
It was important to meet someone, he says, with a similar background to himself at a time when he was working out whether he could be a writer. His first published piece was in Overland.
They speak about:
- how creative writing fits into their lives
- living the dream (and Australia Council grants)
- arts management and the health of the arts scene in Australia
- the Next Chapter Wheeler Centre Fellowship
- getting the writing done
Adut and Khalid describe the genesis of their contributions to Growing Up African in Australia, (including Adut’s cautionary tale about getting your applications for the Next Chapter Fellowship ready on time!). Khalid speaks about ‘resisting the narrativisation’ of experiences and we have the privilege of hearing Adut read her own work live.
Khalid and Adut both speak about what’s next for them, and offer the following advice for other writers:
Adut: ‘There’s always time for you to write.’ She recommends squeezing in writing anywhere.
Khalid has been thinking about a question he was asked by a writing student during a recent lecture, and he wants to give a new answer: ‘What kind of questions are important enough to you, to dedicate a significant amount of time in your life to try and answer.’
Khalid recommends a recent debut collection of short stories, Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
Adut recommends Tomorrow’s Dream – a debut anthology of poetry by South-Sudanese poet, Flora Chol.
Check out Growing Up African in Australia or follow Adut Wolk Akec and Khalid Warsame to find out more about their current projects.
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