5 May 2023

Meet the Toolkits: Fiction 2023 participants

The Express Media team is so excited to announce the ten young writers who will be taking part in this season of Toolkits: Fiction!

Facilitated by writer and editor Annie Zhang, this 12-week intensive course aims to guide participants through craft, characterisation, plot, and publication of fictional work, honing skills in textual analysis, collaboration and pitching.

Writers will meet as a group with their facilitator fortnightly on Wednesday evenings, offering opportunities for skill sharing and development. These meetings will foster community, encourage writers to develop a regular working practice, and open a space to receive encouragement/guidance. During the off-weeks, the group and their facilitator will participate in writing jams, utilising the tools and ideas explored throughout each session.

As part of this Toolkits: Fiction season, there will be two livestreamed guest presentations which will be available to watch publicly on our YouTube channel: Suzy Garcia, 30th May & Grace Chan, 31st May – keep an eye out on our socials for more details coming soon. But for now, say hello to the class of 2023!

Grace Wilson is an 18 year old writer living on Yidinji land in Far North Queensland, working with multiple companies across Australia including Queensland Theatre, Matriark Theatre, JUTE Theatre Company and Australian Theatre for Young People. Challenging contemporary issues, Grace’s works have been acknowledged for their successful and innovative takes on how young people can change the future.

William Huang (he/him) is a writer and Honours graduate whose output includes poetry and short stories. He’s a big fan of journaling who loves cycling and learning languages in his spare time.

I’m currently a 24-year-old university student doing a double degree in actuarial studies and computer science. I’m a first-generation immigrant who moved here at 5, and grew up reading voraciously, because I had a dad who read voraciously. He recommended me Kafka when I was 14, pushed me to read Dickens, had the whole stock of Dostoevsky and Hesse and Murakami on our bookshelves. Right before covid, I spent 2 years as an amateur Muay Thai fighter, worked during that time as a videographer and editor, and began focusing on uni full-time again after a concussion at the end of 2020. I’m trying to work on my writing seriously this year.

Mikala Smee is a recent Criminology and Writing graduate from the University of Queensland. She has been published in SWINE Magazine, Nightmare Fuel Magazine, and Jacaranda Journal where she was awarded best in category. When she isn’t writing she is reading and creating art.

Darla Tejada is a recent graduate of Mathematics with a passion for literature. She has two forthcoming publications for Archer Magazine online and Alternative Milk Magazine. She is a recipient of a partial scholarship for Faber Writing Academy’s Writing About Culture which will commence May 2023. She loves reading obscure books by queer and/or BIPOC authors. She has lived in 3 countries but she is currently based in Naarm.

Jas Saunders is a recent Honours (Creative Writing) graduate from the University of Western Australia, with an undergrad in English Lit and Public Health. Like most writers, she began as a child – her first story being Pokémon fanfiction. Her writing has been published in Pelican Mag, Peafowl Mag, Blue Bottle Journal, Pulch Mag, Just Femme And Dandy Mag, and just recently Haunted Words Press. Her thesis recorded how the ghost can serve as a form of hope for the future and as a mentor figure within bildungsromans/coming-of-age narratives, subverting genre expectations. Jas’ writing interests often focus on – but are not limited to – liminal spaces, nostalgia, and memory, with representation her younger self would have desired to see.

Daniel studies at the Australian National University. He strongly believes ‘masseuse’ should be a gender-neutral word. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Westerly, Island, Overland, Cordite, Voiceworks and Cicerone Journal’s 2020 anthology, These Strange Outcrops.

Natalie Williams (they/she) is a multi-disciplinary creative from Naarm, Melbourne. In their early creative career, they have interned at Archer Magazine, Australian Poetry and Girlfriend Magazine, participated as a mentee in Melbourne Women in Film Festival’s Critics Lab, and they are currently the Digital & Marketing Coordinator at The Wheeler Centre.

Throughout Natalie’s life, she has developed a passion for storytelling in all its forms, and specifically developed a love for film and screenwriting alongside her affection for fiction writing. She studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts to pursue this passion and graduated with the goal of creating work that focuses on identity, queerness, complex relationships and grief in all its forms. As a writer, filmmaker and co-founder of the social change focused magazine KOS, she is passionate about the power that authenticity and lived experiences hold in connecting people together.

You can find her work in Kill Your Darlings, Archer Magazine, KOS, Ramona Magazine, WhyNot, Rabelais, Judy’s Punch and other corners of the internet.

Grace Harvey is Meanjin (Brisbane) based fiction writer and recent BFA in Creative Writing graduate. Their work can be found at ScratchThat, Glass Magazine, and Baby Teeth Journal.

Bernadette Phương Nam Nguyễn is a writer, podcast and radio producer. You can find her dancing in radio studios, manically clacking story ideas into her notes app on the train or patting the dog at a house party.