Real-life people and events make for compelling books. Family dramas, heartbreaks and painful secrets are the stuff of great literature. But how do writers balance their obligations to family and friends with their desire to tell the most riveting story possible? Writing ‘like you’re dead’ is easier said than done when you still have to face family members across the dinner table … and seriously, what if your mum reads it? Sarah Malik and Benjamin Law speak with past winners of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition: Alana Hicks, Cat Yen and Jackie Bailey.

Presented in partnership with SBS Voices.

This is a free event. Bookings are not required, however we recommend that you arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Alana Hicks (Australian)

Alana Hicks

Alana is a Sydney-based, PNG born, writer, director and multi-platform creative. She was awarded first place in the 2020 SBS Emerging Writers' Competition. Her AACTA-nominated short film Chicken continues to play at festivals at home and abroad. She just completed her first gig as a TV director, and is currently in development on an original series concept about growing up mixed-raced in 90's Australia.

Cat Yen (Australian)

Cat Yen

Cat Yen is the 2021 winner of the SBS Emerging Writers competition, with the piece 'Minor Details', her first published piece of creative writing. She hopes to capture experiences of class, ethnicity and gender that are lived but not often articulated.

Jackie Bailey (Australian)

Jackie Bailey

Jackie Bailey is a writer and independent funeral director, living and working on Dharawal country in the Illawarra. Her debut autofiction novel, The Eulogy, will be published in June. Jackie has received numerous awards for her work and has a PhD in Creative Writing. When she is not writing, Jackie spends her time working with families to navigate death and dying.

Benjamin Law (Australian)

Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of The Family LawGaysia: Adventures in the Queer East and Quarterly Essay 67: Moral Panic 101The Family Law is an award-winning TV series for SBS that Benjamin created and co-wrote over three seasons. His debut stage play, Torch the Place, premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company in 2020.

Sarah Malik (Australian)

Sarah Malik

Sarah Malik is a Walkley Award–winning journalist and writer. She has written for The New York Times, Guardian Australia, and The Sydney Morning Herald. She has also presented and produced documentary radio programs for ABC Radio National on everything from immigrant mental health to the rise of white nationalism. She currently works as a senior writer, presenter and editor at SBS. Her work focuses on asylum, domestic violence, class, race, identity, gender and literary memoir.