Five writers. Five electronica artists. Five different spaces. Let the power of storytelling in all its forms transport you through the alleyways, galleries and garages of Parramatta Artists’ Studios. Featuring sounds by the New Age Noise Collective, words by Finishing School and special guests.
Presented by The Finishing School and Parramatta Artists’ Studios. Supported by WestWords and City of Parramatta. The New Age Noise Collective is a project of Information & Cultural Exchange.
Yumna Kassab (Australian)
Yumna Kassab was born and raised in Western Sydney. She completed her schooling in Parramatta, except for two formative years when she lived in Lebanon with her family. She went on to study medical science at Macquarie University and neuroscience at Sydney University. She currently teaches in regional New South Wales. The House of Youssef is her first book.
Rawah Arja (Australian)
Rawah Arja was born and raised in Punchbowl. She studied a Masters of Teaching at Western Sydney University and was awarded a scholarship to complete her doctorate in Education at The University of Notre Dame. Her debut YA novel The F Team will be released this year. Her passion is to write authentic stories that give diverse groups a voice and a sense of belonging, and to explore the Muslim identity.
Hajer is an emerging writer and performer. From short stories to essays to plays, her work flirts with themes of womanhood particularly within Arab diaspora identity formation. She is currently interrogating and experimenting with feminine and masculine archetypal traditions, within folklore, fairy-tale and fable style storytelling.
Ailsa Liu (Australian)
Ailsa Liu creates work across experimental fiction, poetry, sound, sculpture, film and sound. She explores liminal spaces and identities, strongly conflicting feelings and discordant sounds. She has worked closely with Western Sydney collectives: Finishing School, All Girl’s Electronic, Curiousworks and Urban Theatre Projects. She has been published in UNSWeetened, Mascara Literary Review, and Westwords Jr.
Liana Molina (Australian)
Liana Molina is the exploratory sound project Milkfish. They grew up in Lakemba and regularly engage with hearable textures found in shared spaces such as cadences of language and wind. They distort such auditory encounters, weaving field recordings with other references to ambient noise in natural and suburban landscapes together with electronic production and traditional instruments including kubing and bandurria.
Liliana Occhiuto (Australian)
Liliana Occhiuto (AKA Okuesha Kills) is a Western Sydney based sound artist who works across numerous artistic disciplines to create evocative and immersive pieces. Blending the sounds of electronica, progressive rock as well as the beauty in the sounds of everyday life, Liliana constantly works to create fully realised sonic visions fit for theatre, film, art shows, live performance and more.
Brittany Searle (Australian)
Brittany Searle is an English Teacher from Campbelltown. She began her writing career as a journalist and spent time Nepal where she discovered her passion for teaching young people the power of words and their own stories. Brittany’s first love is performance poetry but she is currently working on a collection of personal essays about female transformation and postnatal depression from the unique perspective of a young woman raised in Western Sydney. She is a current member of Parramatta's Finishing School where the female writers of Western Sydney are given opportunity take part in a number of projects and workshops to hone their craft and share their writing.
Xiaoran Shi (Australian)
Xiaoran Shi is a writer, critic and musician born on Manchu country and living on Gadigal land. She has worked in political organising for the better half of five years and hopes to do so for another five, or until the termination of late capitalism (whichever comes first).
Sara Tamim (Australian)
Tru is the newest project by vocalist, songwriter, engineer & producer, Sara Tamim. Sara has performed at events hosted by THE PLOT/Cattleyard, Girls Rock and The Art Gallery of New South Wales as well as alongside producers and musicians such as Rainbow Chan, Jake Howden, Clarissa Mei DROVES and Bec Sandridge. Hailing from Western Sydney, she was lucky to be a member of 'All Girl Electronic/ New Age Noise Collective' which saw her improve her skills with mentors such as Kücka, Rainbow Chan, Antonia Gauci, Lupa J, Hannah Lockwood and many more.
Zarlasht Sarwari (Australian)
Zarlasht Sarwari is a PhD Candidate at Western Sydney University in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology. Her research involves exploring the transnational and intersectional dimensions of Afghan Australian identities. She has formerly undertaken roles within government and the higher education sector, and is currently focusing on research and writing. Zarlasht is creating work inspired by the lived realities of Afghan Australian women and how disrupted connections to place and culture impact upon the sense of self.
Felicity Castagna (Australian)
Felicity Castagna won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction for The Incredible Here and Now, which was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia and NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and adapted for the stage by the National Theatre of Parramatta. Her collection of short stories, Small Indiscretions, was named an Australian Book Review Book of the Year. Her most recent novel, No More Boats, was shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the 2018 Voss Literary Prize and the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Multicultural Award. She holds a PhD in writing from Western Sydney University has been involved in teaching and mentoring writing for the past fifteen years. She is part of the collective, The Finishing School.
Faith Chaza (Australian)
Having grown up in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, Faith Chaza now finds themselves in Sydney. Faith's works spans music, stage productions and prose. As part of the Finishing School Collective, Faith has found out that they thoroughly enjoy community in arts and baddass women writers. Some of their work can be found in Itch, Aerodome, and The Ghost Eater and Other Stories collection. Faith also wrote for and directed Bodies - a stage production, which premiered at Sydney Writers' Festival in 2018.