FWF Subsidies


The FWF2018 Victoria program is now live. Tickets are flying out the door, but we want to make sure feminists outside of Melbourne CBD can attend – so we’re launching our regional subsidies program.

We’re offering 10 subsidies of $100 each to cover regional travel, as well as a free day pass to attend panel sessions at either of the FWF weekend days (Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May).

We also want to ensure that financially disadvantaged writers can take part in our workshops, and so we’re offering two places for each of our workshops in Melbourne and Geelong. 

We can’t do what we do without our wonderful FWF community, including donors, so to donate to the program, please head to our GiveNow page and make a donation. Every dollar counts.

To apply for a regional subsidy or free workshop spot, fill out our simple form by 5pm Fri 20 April.

For more information contact our Development Coordinator at fwfdevelopment@gmail.com.

Family, Language, Love, Dance, Land: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

Features, News

By Nayuka Gorrie

Black Australia is a patchwork – there is no homogenous black culture or experience. Adequately capturing the essence of hundreds of nations is no easy feat, but Anita Heiss has pulled together an incredible bunch of voices that reflect the humour, intelligence, strength and diversity of Aboriginal people in Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia.

It’s no industry secret that readers are largely white women – the white gaze is often unavoidable. But this book wasn’t created for white dinner party fodder; it is concerned with telling the truth or many truths with nuance.

As an anthology, it is not structured uniformly or neatly for the white reader to easily disseminate lessons to make them better allies. Each of the 51 contributors – spanning different ages and experiences, with some household names and others still in high school – has been given creative license, which for the black writer is a rare delight.

I am hopeful that white readers will be left mulling over some stories – but more importantly, that many black people will read it and see bits of themselves reflected back at them, as I did. I saw my late night messages with my younger brother in the conversation between Alice and Susie Anderson. I saw Christmas holidays with the cousins in Natalie Cromb’s yarn. I saw my queerness in Allison Whittaker. Tony Birch made me ache for Fitzroy.

I am hopeful that white readers will be left mulling over some stories – but more importantly, that many black people will read it and see bits of themselves reflected back at them, as I did.

We are given generous glimpses into some deeply personal annals and vulnerabilities. Evelyn Araluen tells us about her childhood ratty face and teeth; Terri Janke tells us about her skin; Deborah Cheetham admits that she feels she is still growing up Aboriginal. Birch without hesitation tells the reader there were no tribes or totems growing up; this is honest and in some part vulnerable. Aboriginal authority can be bound in connection to land, but Birch, staunch and confident in his own Aboriginality, reminds us that not knowing because of circumstances forced on us is Aboriginal too, and that is okay.

The question is, what ties these stories together? Which is to ask, what is the black experience in Australia? One thread woven throughout the book is colonisation and whiteness. Almost every second story spoke of being asked how “much” Aboriginal they are. How often they are or were forced to explain themselves to white people. Perhaps the only thing all contributors have in common is the extent to which colonisation has shaped their lives. This has left me pondering – what is blackness without whiteness? What are we when we aren’t responding to trauma, to colonisation, to white supremacy?

There are moments in the book when there are no white people, or where there is no whiteness. It is family, it is language, it is love, it is dance, it is land. These are all so precious because of the pressure placed on the writers by white supremacy and colonisation, so once again I ask myself, what is blackness without whiteness? This book helps us to get closer to the answer.

What is blackness without whiteness? What are we when we aren’t responding to trauma, to colonisation, to white supremacy?

The other day I was discussing with a friend whether or not things are getting worse. We have national broadcasters spreading dangerous myths about us. If it were not for black protest, the right of reply would never have been carried out. We need black voices and black truths. It seems more pertinent than ever that this book exists; it is one I will revisit over and over again.

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is out now through Black Inc.

Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman. She is passionate about self-determination and culture.

Feminist Writers Festival announces Victorian program for 2018


The Feminist Writers Festival is thrilled to return for its first of two festivals in 2018, with programs across Melbourne and Geelong 25–27 May.

The 2018 festivals will centre around the theme Rewriting the Story, which stems from the deeper desire for structural change – discussing how to create change that is sustainable and longstanding, and looks at the underlying systems.

Evelyn AraluenSantilla ChingaipeAlison CroggonAlison EvansClementine FordAmy GraySarah KrasnosteinFatima MeashamTarneen Onus-WilliamsAnn-Marie PriestJamila RizviMaria TumarkinAsher Wolf and Jacinda Woodhead are among the writers who will deliver panels and workshops across the four-day Victorian program on topics including activism and violence against women.

“We are delighted to announce the FWF Victorian program and couldn’t be happier with the array of writers working with us to cover some of the vital issues of today: violence against women, activism, intersectionality and #metoo,” said co-chair Nikki Anderson.

“We’re pleased too to offer workshops and networking opportunities to better connect feminist writers and readers for ongoing conversations.”

FWF aims to offer a different festival experience, with longer and more discursive panel discussions that are open to audience input, and workshops which aim to nurture, upskill and connect emerging feminist writers.

Tickets for Melbourne and Geelong events are on sale now.

FWF will hold its second 2018 festival in NSW in late October.

Generation Gap: How feminists of different ages are connecting to #MeToo

Features, News

By Matilda Dixon-Smith

Image source: pexels.com

Recently, while speaking with a senior manager of a crisis support centre, I felt the uncomfortable twang of a generation clash.

We were discussing the changing language of consent and the manager, an older, self-described “Germaine Greer era” feminist, recalled hearing stories from clients about “bad sex” (discomfiting sexual experiences that may not qualify as sexual assault) and thinking: “Welcome to the club, darling.”