25 April 2022
Meet the young creators of Toolkits LITE: Poetry, Nonfiction and Fiction!
We are so excited to begin our Toolkits: LITE program with 24 talented young writers and poets from across Australia. During this 8-week intensive, these poets will be working with their facilitator groups exploring the nitty gritty of fiction, nonfiction and poetry with facilitators Annie Zhang (fiction), Hasib Hourani (nonfiction) and Manisha Anjali (poetry).
These 24 writers will meet as a group with their facilitator weekly on Wednesday evenings for the 8 weeks, connecting young Australian writers and 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 week, the group and their facilitator can connect and share their work via a private online group, fostering connection and establishing relationships across the full 8 weeks.
But for now, say hello to the Toolkits: LITE class of 2022!
Athena Anasiou is a lawyer living between unceded Gadigal and Jerrinja lands.
Bridget is a filmmaker, video editor, and actor living on unceded Wurundjeri Country. Her short films and documentaries have been programmed by various festivals across Naarm including Top Screen, Victorian Multicultural Film Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festival and St Kilda Film Festival, among others. She is an aspiring writer, poet and theatre-maker interested in magical realism, the philosophy of language, the language of the internal, and the poetry of science. She believes that the big and significant is contained in the small and insignificant.
I am takatāpui (queer Māori) of Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Pākehā ancestry. I grew up in Aotearoa and still call it home. In Naarm, I work in a cancer research hospital; and as part of my Master’s degree I am currently undertaking research into the experiences of individuals with advanced cancer. My writing explores themes of grief, love, and redemption arcs. I am interested in the ways that shaping narrative- e.g. by talking or writing on an issue- can influence our perceptions, and thus, our reality.
Milica Milinković is a Serbian-born Autistic writer based in Naarm whose writing explores relationships, queerness and having big feelings. They’re currently studying creative writing at RMIT and working on their first novel.
Olivia Chung is a fifth generation Tasmanian-Chinese settler currently based on unceded Wurundjeri Country. As a queer, autistic, chronically-ill doctor based in the crisis-laden mental health system, their pressured, derailing thoughts spill into written form, haphazardly exploring the intersections of marginalised identity, complex trauma and decolonisation. Their writing has been published on Bitter Melon 苦瓜, By Messy, and their ignorant and buried WordPress (please do not look for it). In another facet of their life, they are known as DJ TINY PUPPY and like to create abrasive, distressing and cathartic sonic narratives that speak urgently and intimately to emotional and perpetually othered individuals.
J. Marahuyo is a filopina poet and is currently studying Community Services at TAFE. She lives in Sydney’s Inner-West with her partner trying to teach tricks to her cat. She spends most of her time baking, and reading poetry and fantasy novels. She has placed Highly Commended in Short Stories Unlimited poetry competition which will be published late 2022, and was chosen to be a WestWords Academian for 2022.
Dianty Ningrum was born and raised in Indonesia. She won second place at the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition and was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in The Scores and Australian Poetry Journal.
Jax Bulstrode likes to write poems, cry and preferably do both while taking a bath. Jax has had work published in Verandah Journal, Gems, Plumwood Mountain and Blue Bottle journal. They are from Naarm/Melbourne.
Grace Hall is a writer and editor based in Naarm (Melbourne). Her writing explores the joys and pitfalls of growing up queer in rural Victoria. She is fueled (almost) entirely by potato and existential dread and currently reads a lot of non-fiction. Grace is a member ofthe Storming the City Writers group – a Writability program with Writers Victoria. In the next couple of years, she hopes to start working on queer young adult novel.
Anita Sanders is a South Australian writer regularly reviewing live performance for ArtsHub. Her plays and short stories have been performed and workshopped by South Australian Youth Arts Company, Quart Shorts, Australian Theatre For Young People, the Adelaide Festival Centre and Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. She has produced and written radio plays for New Wave: Audio Theatre. As a Creative Consultant at Carclew, she assists communities and businesses to utilise creative techniques to express themselves and fulfil their goals. Her current project involves producing an audio visual arts tour on Carclew’s archives. She is a graduate of Flinders University‘s Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing).
My name is Leyla, I am a 22 years old journalism graduate with an acute interest in human rights related topics. I was born and raised in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In 2011 my mum and I immigrated to Australia to escape the progressively deteriorating state of my home county. My identity is quite paradoxical, I am a Turkmen who speaks Russian, and I had a Soviet upbringing but lived by Muslim traditions. Both of my parents worked for United Nations when I was growing up, and from a young age, having been exposed to politics and development projects, I knew I wanted to become a writer in order to amplify the voices of those trapped in systems of abuse.
Madison is a writer & student living on sovereign Wurundjeri/Woiwurrung land.
Chloe Hannan is a writer and RMIT student who has always, if a bittimidly, lived on unceded Wurundjeri country. She is small, and writes about all small things from the sky outside her window to the pinkgumboots she wore as a child. She is interested in dreams, lucid spaces and the idea of a memory self. She hopes to bring a softness and light touch to everything she does, from poetry to criticism. She is a firm believer of never getting over anything that has happened to her, so don’t mind if her work is a bit circuitous.
Sangwon works in women’s health promotion, with a focus onpreventing gendered and family violence. She likes reading andwriting about queering relationships and family systems. She’s atypical crybaby Pisces and thinks singing in a choir is pure joy.
Madison Blissett de Weger
Madison Blissett de Weger is a writer, poet, and editor, living on Turrbal and Yuggera land. She is currently working on a memoir on her childhood cancer, where she explores the vulnerabilities offamily, friendship, memory, and love after trauma. She is in her finalsemester of an undergraduate’s degree in Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology, where she’s been an editor for Scratch That Magazine and QUT Literary Salon. She is a Project Officer and Workshop Coordinator at Queensland Writers Centre and a volunteer supervisor for Brisbane Writers Festival. You can read her work in Glass and Scratch That Magazine. Follow her writing journey @words.with.bliss on Instagram.
I am an aspiring writer of Filipino/Australian descent born on unceded Noongar land in the south-west of Western Australia. I moved to Tokyo in 2019, just in time for the pandemic. I hope that one day I can quit my job as a teacher and spend my days baking cookies, playing with cats and writing.
Emma is a non-binary mixed-race Chinese writer and video artist who grew up on Darug land in Granville. They have previously made work about food practices in diasporic Asian culture-making yet have recently been exploring intersecting queer and racial futuristic mythologies. They use playfulness and humour as a liberating and experimental tool, and blend their writing and art practice into each other. Emma is the 2022 coordinator of UNSW Art & Design’s critical arts publication, Framework.
Nadia is a trans Coptic writer from Egypt who grew up in South-West Sydney. She focuses on relationships within marginalised communities and their conflicts under oppressive structures and to process her experiences in a systemic context. She has a bachelor’s of psychology, and is a massive dyke and general menace.
Elizabeth grew up by the beach in the shadow of an oil refinery in Southern Sydney. She was awarded First Place in the CYA Conference Chapter Book/Young Adult Genre (Hatchlings Division) in 2016. She was also published in The Newcomer’s Journal by The University of Sydney in 2021. Also notably, she was awarded First Place in the ScribbleInk Youth Literature Awards in 2016, and Highly Commended in 2017. She was also published twice in anthologies by the Sydney Youth Writing Competition, where she was awarded Highly Commended in 2011 and Third Place in 2010. During 2013, she was also awarded Highly Commended and published in the Written Portraits anthology by Forming Circles. When she isn’t writing, you can find Elizabeth studying at the University of Sydney or working as a bookseller at the Best Little Bookshop in Town in Cronulla.
Mia Kelly is an emerging prose writer working in Boorloo/Perth. She is interested in developing a style of literary fantasy/non-realism inspired by the work of Ursula le Guin, and her writing is primarily engaged with ideas regarding ecology and community. She has been published in Westerly.
Friedrich Sarah Thompson
Friedrich Sarah E. Thompson (Freddy to those short on time) is an author of short genre fiction, with stories in SERIAL Magazine and the 2020 horror anthology Coppice & Brake. His work explores themes of identity, relationships and power through the lens of traditional genre and fairy tale tropes, while drawing on her experiences as a bigender lesbian. He lives on Gadigal land, and, as is obvious from her every personality trait, owns a black cat.
Elise Ho is university student studying secondary teaching in Melbourne. She likes birds and owns a pet praying mantis.
I am a writer living in Sunnybank Hills, Brisbane, where I have a writing desk that is the base for writing, weird daydreams, and banging heads on the keyboard. I started writing stories at the age of 6, where I wrote an unbelievably melodramatic retelling of Sleeping Beauty and fanfics about my Barbies.
I enjoy writing stories that make people think and gravitate towards the characters, and I also dabble in poetry ( often middling! ). I have come second place in the RACQ Lifesaving Writing Competition, won a Best in State medal in ICAS for writing, won a trophy for being the top writer in Year 3 for Queensland in 2018, and received the annual Graham Perrett Writing Award in 2021. My work has been submitted to publications such as F(r)iction and Stone Soup, as well as entered into competitions like the Queensland Writers Festival Word Play Microfiction Competition and the Write4Fun National Treasures Competition with results forthcoming.
Laura (she/her) is a writer and disability advocate living on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung country. She was part of Express Media’s inaugural Left to Write program and has been published by Busybird Publishing, in Melbourne University’s ‘Antithesis’ and Deakin University’s ‘Wordly.’ She has a personal blog where she discusses books with disability and mental health representation. Laura is also a Plain and Easy English content writer. When she’s not reading or writing, Laura loves drinking tea, colouring in and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Express Media are grateful to Australian Poetry for funding the Poetry component of this program