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Annual Curtin literary event aims to bring words to life beyond the page

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Chinese and Australian writers will discuss how to bring their works to life beyond the page through art and society at the China Australia Writing Centre’s annual Creative Conversations literary event being hosted at Curtin University’s city campus location this month.

The Centre, which showcases Australian writing in China and Chinese writing in Australia, is an established collaboration between Curtin and one of China’s premier universities, Fudan University.

Held on Saturday, November 30, the annual event will be led by moderator Meri Fatin. Panellists include award-winning poet and photographer Wang Yin, Curtin University Senior Lecturer Dr Jo Jones and two-time Miles Franklin award-winner and Curtin University Professor Kim Scott, who each discuss ways they have brought words to life in contexts other than a page, all of which have engaged audiences in innovative ways.

Dr Lucy Dougan, poet and Program Director of the China Australia Writing Centre at Curtin University, said people tend to think of literary works as living mostly on the page but this year’s event would explore the many other potential possibilities.

“The wonderful thing about literary works is sometimes they can be experienced in quite different contexts, which can release new meanings and enhance a sense of community or connection to places,” Dr Dougan said.

“We are delighted to be hosting the 2019 Creative Conversations event at Curtin’s city campus on St Georges Terrace. Rarely do writers from Australia and China have an opportunity to meet in a public forum to talk about their creative lives and work.

“In this year’s Creative Conversation our three writers will discuss ground-breaking projects they have each initiated that bring words to life in different contexts, such as Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories, the Three Rivers project and Poetry Comes to Museum.”

Event panellist, esteemed author and Curtin University Creative Writing Professor Kim Scott stressed the importance of promoting and preserving Indigenous languages, for future generations.

“Indigenous languages are really more than just the sounds that are spoken, each word is filled with so much description and meaning, it’s another way of viewing and describing the world,” Professor Scott said.

“The importance and antiquity of Noongar language in this part of the world is revealed in how many of its words are already in use by West Australians like quokka, jarrah, marri, gidgee. The list goes on, even before starting on all the place names that survive, such as Yallingup, Balga, Katanning and so on.”

Professor Scott is chair and founder of Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories, a community-based project that aims to reclaim Noongar stories and dialect.

His work beyond the page features at Optus Stadium, where his 16 verse poem Kaya – a word which means ‘Hello’ or ‘Yes’ in Noongar – is written in both Noongar and English text.

Additionally, he has writings displayed at a historical memorial near Ravensthorpe on the WA south coast, and he has created spoken word recordings to accompany the Boorna Waanginy event, which has twice featured at Kings Park as part of Perth International Arts Festival.

Creative Conversations 2019: The Extra Life of Words will be held on Saturday, November 30, from 2pm to 4pm at Curtin 139 St Georges Terrace.

Curtin 139 St Georges Terrace, located in the Old Perth Boys’ School, is one of our Curtin locations in the Perth CBD, which also includes 137 St Georges Terrace, Curtin Law School at 57 Murray Street, and the Graduate School of Business, including Curtin’s Future of Work Institute, at 78 Murray Street.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, please visit

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