Writing The Rainbow

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Writing The Rainbow is a festival of LGBTIQ writers and readers hosted at Realm, Ringwood. The festival explores stories and ideas, focusing on text, performance and the experience of reading in the context of queer history, language and discourse.

As well as talks by acclaimed authors, there is a workshop for emerging writers, rainbow family storytimes for kids, quiet reading for reflection and relaxation, some cabaret and live music for fun, plus plenty of books to talk about.

Please join us and celebrate the rainbow!

Writing the Rainbow is proudly supported by the Victorian Government.
Tuesday 17 September,
Celebrate the launch of the inaugural Writing the Rainbow festival at Realm! After enjoying some drinks, hear Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Rob Steane, introduce author and transgender activist Nevo Zisin, who will open the festival and speak about their life journey.

Nevo Zisin is an educator, public speaker, Jewish, transgender, queer and feminist activist, and youth leader. They are the author of Finding Nevo, an autobiography about gender and the always complex journey towards self-affirmation.

Wednesday 18 September,
Melbourne’s queer literature history and culture comes under the microscope at this session. Three eminent scholars will share their thoughts on queer experience in written posterity, answering questions around the process of inviting and collecting stories, building bridges between communities, and preserving lived queer experience for future generations.
Dr Michael Hurley is an honorary Associate Professor at La Trobe University where he worked primarily as an HIV social researcher. In 1996 while teaching Textual and Cultural Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, he published the seminal reference work A Guide to to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia which was the formative text on the subject and continues to provide a window into the complex development of Melbourne’s queer literature history.
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli has gained international recognition as a writer, researcher, lecturer and consultant in the issues of cultural diversity, gender diversity, sexual diversity, family diversity, HIV/AIDS, and social diversity in health and education, with a specific focus on adolescence and young people. Most recently she edited Living and Loving in Diversity: An anthology of Australian multicultural queer adventures.
Dr Dino Hodge is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Indigenous Studies. His 1993 book Did you meet any malagas?, documents the multi-racial facets of Darwin’s gay community. Dino subsequently was invited to collaborate on Colouring the Rainbow, bringing a national focus to the often overlooked contributions of queer and trans First Nations Australians.
Thursday 19 September,
Join us for stories, poems, songs and craft with Disability and Queer Rights Activist and performance poet Jax Jacki Brown.
Friday 20 September,
Benjamin Law is a writer, broadcaster and journalist whose latest book is the anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia. Benjamin will talk about compiling the book using voices from across the spectrum of LGBTIQA+ identity. He will also share his experience of writing comedy with his sister (Shit Asian Mother’s Say); sex advice with his mother (Law School); and how it felt to put his own childhood on screen in The Family Law.

Saturday 21 September,
Join us for an intimate workshop on the craft of writing your story, whether you’re writing for publication, wellbeing or just to find a creative outlet.

Narrelle M Harris publishes in a number of genres and her books include:
– a vampire adventure in modern Melbourne
– Sherlock Holmes and John Watson falling in love across time
– a racy lesbian romance in the Middle East
– two flightless people discovering each other in a world of wings
– a rock band that fights monsters with magical music
– a queer paranormal thriller set in the heart of London

Monday 23 September,
5:30 – 7:30pm

Young people in Maroondah, as part of the HEY Grant Project (Queer Voices), have been selected to share their unique stories and develop their public speaking and storytelling skills. Hear them speak from the heart and take control of their own narratives at this special event.

Tuesday 24 September,
6:30 – 7:30pm

Join us in Realm’s cosy reading area for an evening of queer reads. This session is for anyone to visit, relax, read and chat about queer-themed material in a completely safe and supportive environment.

Speculative writing, fearless storytelling

Panel Discussion

Wednesday 25 September,
Taking one’s own lived queer experience and weaving it into your writing is a welcome challenge to these writers. Hear from some of Melbourne’s best known experimental queer authors about their approaches to writing speculative fiction, and their thoughts about what makes writing ‘queer’
This discussion will be chaired by Justine Hyde: critic, author and essayist, the former Director of Experience at State Library Victoria, and an outspoken expert on Melbourne’s modern queer literature scene.
Quinn Eades, is a researcher, writer and poet, and author of All The Beginnings: A Queer Autobiography of the Body. He is also the founding editor of Australia’s only interdisciplinary, peer reviewed, gender, sexuality and diversity studies journal, Writing from Below.
Marlee Jane Ward is a Melbourne-based queer author whose debut novella, Welcome To Orphancorp, won Seizure’s Viva La Novella 3 and the 2016 Victorian Premiers Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. Two sequels have followed.
Angela Meyer is a Melbourne-based queer author of fiction and non-fiction. Her works have appeared in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, ,The Lifted Brow and Killings. Her debut novel, A Superior Spectre, has been shortlisted for several awards.
Thursday 26th September,
Join us for a very special storytime! Dolly Diamond is one of Australia’s finest comedy cabaret talents and a jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s queer entertainment scene. She will take families on a journey through some welcoming and wondrous picture books.
Dolly Diamond is one of Australia’s finest comedy cabaret talents and a Melbourne icon. She was awarded Artist of the Year at the inaugural GLOBE Community Awards in 2014, and has worked extensively with Victorian LGBTIQ community organisations. She is also a fierce lover of libraries and we couldn’t be happier that she is returning to Ringwood!
Thursday 26 September,
Round out the festival with a naughty grown-ups storytime from Dolly Diamond! Stories don’t stop being fun when we get big, they just get a bit more exciting!