Judith Ridge, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Oliver Phommavanh, Felicity Castagna, Fiona Wright (facilitator)
Western Sydney is one of Australia’s most culturally and linguistically diverse regions. It is also one of the most underrepresented areas of the country in film and media, and a place where some communities struggle with reading and writing. Why?
A panel of writers, project managers and editors tackle misconceptions about the region, offer insights into the unique communities that reside there and discuss how to embed and develop a literary culture in Western Sydney.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Judith Ridge, Felicity Castagna and Oliver Phommavanh talk to Fiona Wright.
Judith Ridge (Australian)
Judith Ridge is an internationally recognised specialist in children’s and youth literature. She has been an English teacher, editor, writer, critic and teacher of children’s literature and creative writing. She is currently the project officer for WestWords - the Western Sydney Young People’s Literature Development Project. Judith is a Churchill Fellow and has a master’s in children’s literature. westwords.com.au
Michael Mohammed Ahmad is chief editor of Westside Publications. He is currently completing an honours degree at the University of Western Sydney and a JUMP Mentorship with Professor Ivor Indyk. His writing has appeared in HEAT Literary Journal in 2008 and 2010. In 2008 Mohammed was recipient of a grant from the FTO’s Young Filmmakers’ Fund for production of his script, The Pizza. As an actor, Mohammed has most recently starred in the 2012 Belvoir Theatre/Sydney Festival production, I’m Your Man.
Felicity Castagna (Australian)
Felicity Castagna is the author of Small Indiscretions: Stories of travel in Asia and a forthcoming YA novel. She is currently an editor and educational officer for Westside Publications and a doctoral candidate with The Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney. Her work has featured on ABC Radio National and in The Age, Heat, Island and Wet Ink. She has been the recipient of a Qantas SOYA and a Josephine Ulrick Literature Award.
Fiona Wright (Australian)
Fiona Wright’s work has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia, Asia and the USA. Her poems feature in Best Australian Poems 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the Toilet Doors Project (2004). Fiona works as an editor at Giramondo Publishing. Her first collection is Knuckled.
Oliver Phommavanh (Australian)
Oliver Phommavanh loves to make people laugh, whether it's on the page writing humour for kids or on stage as a stand-up comedian. He also shares his passion for writing with the children he teaches at a primary school in Western Sydney. As a comedian, Oliver has appeared on stage, and on national TV and radio. He's a die-hard Nintendo fan and cheers for the Wests Tigers! He is the author of Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd and, most recently, Punchlines. oliverwriter.com