I spent yesterday here with an advanced reader's copy of the utterly brilliant, 'Exquisite Cadavers' by Meena Kandasamy ( @atlanticbooks ). Now, off to be an artist-in-residence at a school in North Queensland... V excited for what we'll create. 🎨💖🖌💛🖍
Coming home next week! 🎉I'll be in Aus for a month, first being an artist-in-residence at a school in the Whitsundays... then speaking at Whitsunday Voices... and then PREMIERING @cloudy_river at @melbwebfest in Melbourne... visiting @neighbourhoodbooks to talk about Below Deck ... then to Sydney for editorial meetings with @allenandunwin , and some quality time with @georgiahardcastle and all my other loves. Also, I finally convinced @robbiemason999 to come with me. 🦋🦋 'Excited' doesn't quite cut it.
This photo was taken three years ago on the Coral Sea. I was with Pete and Sa, and had just written the first scene of Below Deck. Today, I'm hitting send on the structural edit I've spent the last three months working on, having written an extra 15,000 words. This moment is bitter sweet. Because in Australia, yesterday, my friends and family said goodbye to our mermaid, Sa. My heart aches. But it's also full knowing how many beautiful pages she inspired. Full remembering that when we listened to whale song together, my world opened and spread out wide. Because in this song, the sea blossomed into colours I'd never seen before. And so I want to say thank you, Sa, for teaching me the sky and the sea. This book is ours.
For the past three months, I've been editing Below Deck. I'm now on my final draft of the structural edit, getting very close indeed to the line by line copy edit. I've also been in chronic pain. And if there's one thing I'm grateful for, it's the people here in Oxford, and those across the seas, who have rallied around me, supporting me and championing this story. Books aren't written in a vacuum, they take a village to produce. So thank you, to my village. I love you all... so, so much! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
I've been writing about that time you and I were underwater in the Coral Sea, listening to whale song. Melodies undulating through the deep. Coursing through our bodies. How magic it was. That song. Like blooms of coral, unfolding into colours I'd never seen before. How fucking glorious that afternoon was. With its marbled sunset. All gold and shining. Our smiles stretching the width of the horizon. And I am so thankful for those moments. For that overwhelming joy. ♡ Rest in peace, Mermaid. The sea is yours.
In case you missed it... Cloudy River is a part of the official selection at @MelbWebFest !! We will be sharing an episode of the series with the public for the FIRST TIME EVER! We’re excited and nervous, but sincerely hoping you all love it!! Screening details to be announced, but save the date - July 18-21. WHOOOO!! . . . . . #webseries #filmfestival #melbourne #premiere #pansexual
So, in the wake of an election in which a government with deeply homophobic views came into power, again, we had our own win. Cloudy River, a show about a pansexual artist in an open relationship, has been selected for Melbourne WebFest, an international web-series festival happening this July... As I said in my post on Sunday, now is when we get creative. Now is when we make work that is inclusive, work that inspires love and empathy. Fuck yeah. Love wins. #loveislove @melbwebfest (photo by @lenajaynebuchanan )
In the wake of Trump's election, I read a post that said, "now, we get creative." And when the sadness softens, I know that's what we must do. We must create art, and write books and make films that are inclusive and intersectional, work that inspires love and empathy in the face of a government that is hateful, bigoted and divisive. We must make work that continues to tell the story of ecocide. Work that fights for a sustainable future in the face of a government that doesn't believe in climate change. Today, I'll grieve. Tomorrow, I'll create. #auspol (Work by the ever talented, @ailiebanks )
We’re thrilled to finally announce that SCREEN AUSTRALIA have come on board with post production support for CLOUDY RIVER! 💥💥 It’s a testament to all the hard work and creativity that has been poured into the series by our incredible cast and crew. Charlie and I are just so fucking proud of you all. Especially, our amazing producer, Belinda at @studiounko , Our stunning leads, Bec @rebeccakaterobertson and Rowan @selectedpoems , our inspiring Art Director, Karla @karla milat And our utterly incredible Director of Photography, Jack Shepherd. @jackshepherd___ Thanks to Screen Australia, we’re so lucky to now have Laurence van Camp at @the_editors65 as our editor and the incredible Tim Bridge @SonarMusicOfficial looking after our audio post and the one and only @mattfezz for grade & online. Thank you @ScreenAustralia and @QueerScreen for your support. We're excited to be able to bring this story that celebrates the diversity of relationships and love to the screen. #lgbtqi #openrelationship #pansexual #pride #filmmaker #screenaustralia #queerscreen ❤️💛💚💙💜
BOOK REVIEW: I just finished reading @yassmin_a 's 'You Must Be Layla,' and, Oh My God. My heart is bursting. Not least because I love the woman who penned it, but because every Australian should read this book. Scratch that. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. They say that if you can't explain something simply, you haven't understood it well enough. And I believe Yas' incredible achievement here is that she's been able to distill complex subject matter in a language that is accessible to all readers. In one novel, she's given insight to the migrant experience, acknowledged the intergenerational trauma felt by Australia's First Nations people, highlighted the plight of queer kids yearning to express their true selves, and shown us the lived experiences of Muslims and POC when hate speech is normalised under the guise of 'free speech'. Dedicated to the young girls of the diaspora, this novel is both timely and timeless. For starters, Layla is a Queen with a capital 'Q'. She is fierce, determined, hilarious, intelligent, and most importantly, forgiving. She is the girl next door, the girl Australia needs right now. And I'm so fucking grateful to you, Yas, for giving us Layla. We will all learn so much from her. Finally. Yassmin, I can't believe this is your first work of fiction!!! It's astonishing. I'm utterly in awe of you. And I can't wait to see what you write next. There is so much more I want to say, but instead, I'll finish with my favourite quote from the novel. "She had speed, agility and a protective armour (her hijab ). She was Layla, the Queen." #channelthejamel @penguinteenaus @penguinbooksaus