With an office bookshelf positively groaning with the works of 150+ speakers set to descend on the UWRF17, Festival staff have no shortage of literary inspiration. So what’s keeping them up at night, page by page, in the lead up to this year’s event? In our latest series, #UWRFBookClub, we chat to the Festival team about their highlight authors and artists. This week, we chat to Programming Intern, Rosie Clynes.
Of all creatives, I have a particular affinity for those who kind of seem like they can do anything, with any medium. It is exciting how many speakers at the festival are of this ilk – renaissance women and men who seem to have creativity practically pouring out of them! Osamah Sami is no exception – his work as an actor has extended seamlessly into works of exceptional comedy and writing across both film and literature. Seeing Ali’s Wedding, which he wrote and starred in, has made me really excited to pick up his book too, Good Muslim Boy, and not to mention hear him speak at the festival. Seeing Sami’s work brought to the fore is also exciting because in Australian media we so rarely get to see the actual diversity of what it means to be Australian – works like Sami’s show that maybe the broadness and complexity of Australia’s collective identity is starting to be represented more and more accurately!
I have been reading Dessaix’s newest book Pleasures of Leisure over the last few weeks with the reckless abandon of one who is not used to the indulgence of giving up productive time not just to read a lot, but to read a lot about leisure. Like many of us, I am addicted to keeping busy, and this book and its call to look into human’s necessity to ‘do nothing’ feels timely in an age of frenzy and momentum. His research and pondering on leisure feels like the musings of a friend, his wit and unique voice make me excited to hear him speak, and his insights on the human condition have me looking forward to getting knee-deep in his other works.
Djenar Maesa Ayu is another multi-talented artist I am looking forward to hearing at the festival. Not only an award-winning short story and fiction writer, she uses her ability to create as a screenwriter and filmmaker too. The focal points of her work interest me – I have boundless admiration for those who are brave and nuanced enough to tackle taboo subjects in their work. For example, her fourth film, hUSh, which will be playing here at the festival, is a mockumentary about a singer from Bali who moves to Jakarta, and looks to be an open and sincere contribution toward the discussion of women’s issues and sexual violence in Indonesia. It is also always refreshing and much-needed to be able to witness the work of women by women, and it is clear Djenar dedicates herself to this with brutal honesty.