A live event that challenges writers to create a new work using as their inspiration memories collected from the general public.
The project seeks contributions from anyone both online and in person during each event in a unique interaction between artist and audience. Your memories can take the form of text, images, or video. Submissions may be published to the project web site and provided to the authors who may choose to incorporate audience memories into their work in progress.
Up to three authors sit before their computers in a public space and they write. Their work is fed to a large screen and simultaneously to the project web site, every keystroke visible to the world.
The audience, both online and in person can contribute to the writing in progress, by providing the authors with a memory. Memories flood in online direct to the web site and, in person, via the manual typewriters we provide at the venue.
As the number of collected memories grow through the day, they are attached to the author’s table, eventually reaching the floor and ‘flowing’ out towards the audience as a kind of visual flourish and as a marker of our progress.
This is writing as a performance, but one distinct from other performative aspects of literature: this isn’t a reading of a prepared work, nor is it freestyle poetry. It’s improvisation not with speech but with text and the tools of contemporary writing: keyboard and cut-and-paste.
For most readers, Memory Makes Us is a web site. For festival visitors, it’s a live event. We have also taken it to print.
But none of these individual ‘formats’ capture the whole project.
Memory Makes Us exists in its most complete form on the project web site where writers’ and readers’ contributions are presented in their entirety and with equal significance. At least until the text begins corrupting.
But the web still doesn’t capture Memory Makes Us. Not entirely.
Because it’s in that live interaction where the project really sings.
Kate Pullinger’s 2009 novel The Mistress of Nothing won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes. Her prize-winning digital fiction projects Inanimate Alice and Flight Paths: A Networked Novel have reached audiences around the world. Kate gives talks and readings frequently. She is Professor of Creative Writing and New Media at Bath Spa University.
Marie Munkara is of Rembarranga, Tiwi and Chinese descent and has extensive family throughout Arnhemland, the Islands of the Top End and Darwin. Born on the banks of the Mainoru River, Marie spent her early years growing up on Bathurst Island.
Levin A. Diatschenkowas born in Sydney, and raised in Alice Springs. Though he has lived in most major cities in Australia, he resides in Darwin. His work has been referred to variously as magical realism, hard-boiled Surrealism, and mystic fable.
Kamarra Bell-Wykes is a descendant of the Jagera and Butchulla people of South East Queensland. Kamarra’sfirst play, Shrunken Iris was produced when she was twenty-two. With four works since then, Crying Shame, Mothers Tongue, Chopped Liver and Body Armour.
After decades of rubbing shoulders with fraudsters and liars, Nicholas Johnson now works as a performer, writer and consultant, educating the public about the tricks of the con artist’s trade. His live shows have featured at corporate events, schools and private events simultaneously entertaining and educating audiences about con artists and scams.
Angela Meyer is an author (Captives), editor (The Great Unknown), reviewer and literary journalist. She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Western Sydney, and has blogged for more than seven years at Literary Minded. Her fiction, articles, essays and reviews have been widely published.
Sean Williams is an award-winning, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of over thirty-five novels, eighty short stories, and the odd odd poem. He lives in Adelaide with his family. On Twitter, he’s @adelaidesean, his website is seanwilliams.com and he’s also on Facebook.
Warsan Shire is the first young poet laureate for London. Born in 1988, Warsan has read her work extensively all over Britain and internationally – including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, America and Kenya- and her début book, ‘Teaching my Mother How to Give Birth’ (flipped eye), was published in 2011. In 2013 she won the Inaugural African Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma and Poetry Review and in the anthology ‘The Salt Book of Younger Poets’ (Salt, 2011). She is the current poetry editor at SPOOK magazine. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and Estonian. She curates and teaches classes around the art of healing through narrative and poetry.
Josephine Moon writes ‘foodie fiction’, with strong, creative women making their mark in the world. She describes her stories as ‘books like brownies’: indulgent, comforting, a treat for the senses, but filling and with chunky nuts to chew on.
Maxine Beneba Clarkeis an Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean heritage. She is a spoken word poet whose essays, fiction & short stories have been published nationally, including in the Age, theBig Issue, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review, and Going Down Swinging. Her spoken word has been broadcast nationally and internationally. She is the winner of the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript for her short fiction collection Foreign Soiland of the 2013 Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize for her poem ‘nothing here needs fixing.’
Kate Fielding builds creative platforms for intercultural conversations. She is a cultural strategist, a writer of narrative non-fiction and an advocate for social change hairdressing. Kate is a 2014-2016 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow. She has worked throughout Australia, including several years living and working in very remote desert Australia. Kate has an ongoing involvement with the arts and cultural community in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Kate also likes fireworks, comics and being able to find relevant information really really fast.
Paddy O’Reilly writes novels, short stories and screenplays. She has won a number of short story awards and her stories have been published and broadcast around the world. Her books have been shortlisted for major awards as well as nominated as best books of the year in various publications. Paddy’s latest novel is The Wonders.
Dubbed a public art provocateur by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Randy Osborne also writes personal essays that have appeared in many online literary journals. In 2014, his work was published in four print anthologies and nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Find out more at randyosborne.com.