8 May 2022

Welcoming our new Voiceworks Editor, Zowie Douglas Kinghorn!

Express Media and Voiceworks are incredibly excited to announce that Zowie Douglas Kinghorn has been appointed Voicework’s new editor!

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn is a writer and editor. Her recent work has appeared in Meanjin, Island, Overland, The Sydney Review of Books, The Big Issue and others. She was awarded the Scribe 2018 Nonfiction Prize and the 2021 Ultimo Prize. She is currently a commissioning editor for Moonland, and is an inaugural Deb Foskey scholar with Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia.

We are incredibly thrilled to have Zowie join the team, and sat down for a chat to learn a little bit more about her.

1) What part about being the Voiceworks Editor are you most excited about?

I’m really excited to be able to work with the other young writers and editors in the amazing editorial committee (EdComm) and just to be able to do so IRL as opposed to online. I’ve just moved to Melbourne and it’s so different – it’s been so good to be able to meet people whose words I’ve only read online and in print before. I’m also very excited for the stability and to be able to do something I enjoy for work. Working with other young people is amazing and it’s something I’ve been lucky enough to have a fair bit of experience with in the environmental activist space and also as a nanny and teacher’s aide – so seeing that lightbulb moment when a young person goes actually, I can do this, is really rewarding! Basically, I’m excited to support young writers to build their skills, resources and networks in writing and publishing through Voiceworks which is such a vital platform for new writing.

2) Are you a writer/artist yourself? What do you like to create, and what do you like to read?

Yes, I am! Though it’s not what I often get published for, I particularly love writing fiction and have been working for a few years now on a manuscript about music that probably won’t go anywhere, but I’m enjoying the process of writing, researching, editing, deleting everything, making a billion different folders, resenting my lack of filing capability … and rinse, repeat.

I love to read speculative fiction and satire, especially works that combine the two, so if I had to pick three favourite books it would probably be A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven (especially the story Water) andGod Bless You Mr Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. They’re probably the books I’ve re-read the most and the ones I reach for regularly. Having said that though, nonfiction is what I write most often for publication, and I do love reading nonfiction, especially books about environmental activism like Oscar Olivera’s Cochabamba!and Anna Krien’s Into the Woodswhich I return to often when I’m feeling hopeless about the future for young people in a world of rapidly accelerating climate change and diminishing biodiversity.

3) What is something you hope to see from Voiceworks now you are at the helm?

I hope to see Voiceworks continue to publish new writing from across the continent, and progress towards decentralizing our events and outreach so that we can offer opportunities in publishing outside major metropolitan centres. I am also keen to engage in audio-based storytelling projects and publishing. I also hope to do something with the name Voicemail. One day.

4) You have been involved in a lot (a lot) of Express Media/Voiceworks programs, what finally pushed you to apply for the Voiceworks editor role? And what advice do you have for young editors wanting to further their career?

I have! Express Media has been really formative in my writing journey, from the Scribe/Express Media Nonfiction prize to the Left to Write mentoring program and Tracks writing workshops. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without these experiences.

I was really at a crossroads when I applied for the editor position, as I had recently been absolved of quite a big family responsibility and had just spent a year away from most of my support networks while finishing my Honours. So while I felt very isolated, there were lots of people I’d met through the writing community who were a real lifeline for me during the pandemic and the Editorial Committee was one of the things that I looked forward to every week in lockdown.

My advice to young editors: don’t be afraid to reach out to people who do what you want to do and say hi. Also this is obvious, but read and write widely, you literally never know what will come out of it. There are often unlikely connections – sometimes you’ll get an opportunity where someone might be like ‘hey! I read your piece about Western Tasmania and want to get in touch about this new publishing idea!’ and then suddenly you get these random little constellations of experience that lead to something else. Which is annoying, because everything is so contingent and uncertain and reliant on who you know.

5) until now what has been your experience/relationship with Voiceworks?

Voiceworks was the first place I got really considered, detailed and helpful feedback from then-nonfiction and now the current editor, Adalya Nash Hussein. My piece was handled with such care and after a few redrafts Voiceworks became the first place I was published and paid for writing. It was a wonderful experience. Voiceworks then became the first place I published fiction and digital writing. I think it’s really good the way Voiceworks offers young writers the opportunity to learn and grow and experiment with new forms.

Having been on the Editorial Committee for the past two years and seeing the way other publications do things, Voiceworks stands out to me in its careful editorial process, with an attention to detail and genuine collaboration, an experience that is so rare and that I hope to help continue in the legacy of previous editors. It is the biggest honour to be continuing the editorship from Adalya, who has done an incredible job of carrying Voiceworks through the pandemic and making it so frigging good. They’re big shoes to fill!

We’re excited for Zowie to take over for our current Voiceworks editor Adalya, and to celebrate with them both and our outgoing Voiceworks designer, Selena, at our Voiceworks IRL launch on May 13th! 

Details for this event can be found here. We hope to see you then!