Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT) formerly Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership' | APWT builds, promotes and helps sustain the careers of authors and literary translators in the Asia Pacific region.




Off-campus events in red are additional to the conference, and at participants’ own expense. 


See Participant Bio Notes 

Download the Program here


Thursday 24th November

Pre-Conference Event 6:00-8:00 PM

Off-campus book launches & open mic. Kui Yuan Café Gallery Xuguyuan Lu, Yuexiu District.


This art café in an historic district serves inexpensive light meals and alcohol. Launch of Chris Raja’s book, The Burning Elephant (Giramondo) and Andal: The autobiography of a goddess, translated by Priya Sarukkai Chabria and Ravi Shankar (Zubaan Books).



DAY 1: Friday 25th November

8:15- 8:45  Registration — School of Foreign Languages (SFL), Sun Yat-sen University, South Guangzhou Campus.

Collect your program and conference badge. Be seated by 8:45 AM please.

8:45- 9:10  Welcome — Main lecture theatre (ROOM 101). Speakers: President of Sun Yat-sen University, Australian Consul General, Director of SYS Center for Creative Writing, and APWT's Chair. 

9:15 - 9:45 Opening Keynote by Nicholas Jose  

Nicholas JoseMain lecture theatre (Room 101), School of Foreign Languages, SYS.

“Creating Our Audience”.  Writing is a conversation that often begins with the writer's own community, including editors, publishers, reviewers, critics and other writers. For Asian and Pacific writers this can be complicated, with borders of language and culture to be crossed, and barriers to the way work becomes available. We need to expand the conversational community. We are our own best advocates and provocateurs. We can create our own audience.

Nicholas Jose’s participation is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

9:45 - 10:00 Tea/Coffee Break

MORNING WORKSHOP: 10:00 - 12:15
Travel Writing in the 21st Century with Robin Hemley - Room 301.

How do you write about place in a way that makes it new? How do you write Robin Hemleyabout a place that’s been written about many times before, Venice, for instance, or Paris? In the 21st century, who is the travel writer’s audience and what are the ethical responsibilities of the travel writer? After all, writing about the most unspoiled beach in the world will surely spoil it. Of course, travel literature is not necessarily for the leisure class but for those who wish to have a better perspective on their own sense of world and place. Note: You must register for workshops separately. Register here.

PANELS DAY1: 10:00 - 11:15
Panel 1. Room 210: Little Fish, Big Ponds — Hooking an International Publisher 

neeta-nIt is every writer’s dream to get published and reach an international status.  But this is not an easy task. This panel brings together a group from the publishing industry to talk about the processes, challenges and ways of getting published internationally. Neeta Gupta, Jo Lusby, Alexandra Büchler, David Lopez-del Amo, and  Rachel Edwards talk with Nury Vittachi.

Panel 2. Room 305: Creative Writing in the Academy

In many academic institutions around the world there is a parallel life between academia and creative writing where the two often do not meet.  This panel addresses the practice of creative writing in the academy. Does the academy value creative writing enough?  What is the place of creative writing in academia today?
Lucy Neave, Dai Fan, Ralph Semino Galan and Tim Tomlinson. Moderated by Jose Dalisay.


Panel 3. Room 312: Tales from Downunder

Australia is a multicultural country, home to people from different cultures and backgrounds.  So, what is the Australian story?  Who gets to narrate it? In this panel diverse Australian narrators and writers tell their stories. Omar Musa, Melissa Lucashenko, Julie Koh, Benjamin Law and Linda Jaivin moderated by Julie Beveridge.

PANELS DAY 1: 11:20 – 12:30

Panel 4. Room 210: Creating the Asian Male in literature

Picture: Jason Edwards. The Australian.

In our current world sexual, gender and race identities are continuously shifting and porous.  In the midst of this, how are Asian males being portrayed nowadays in literature? And do these portrayals reflect reality?    

Benjamin Law, Kawika Guillermo, Jose Dalisay Osamah Sami and Nury Vittachi will be dissecting presentations of Asian masculinity. Moderated by Sally Breen


Panel 5. Room 305: On Literary Translations

Hope Sabanpan-YuLiterary translators are often themselves poets and writers and they play an essential part in bridging the widening chasm between cultures, ideologies and beliefs. The panelists will discuss the evolution of literature through translation and the important role it plays in enriching all literary traditions.

Sholeh Wolpé, Hope Sabanpan-Yu, and Fang Xia, Randy M Bustamante. With participating moderator Mridula Chakraborty.

Panel 6. Room 312: Poetic License

Adam-Siem-ReapMany have dabbled in writing verses that we claim to be poetry.  Yet, there is a big divide between declaring oneself a poet and one who writes poetry as a hobby.  In this panel poets discuss poetry, writing, and what it means to be a poet.     
Adam Aitken, Collier Nogues, and Michael Brennan, with participating moderator Joshua Ip.

LUNCH 12:30 – 1:15

1:15- 1:45 Keynote: Qaisra Shahraz Room 101


'Writing and Muslim women; battling with ideas and realities over time.' Supported by British Council.

Qaisra Sharaz shares her writing life as a woman with multiple identities living in the west in the age of ISIS and battling anti-Muslim hatred; from fuming at the literary deletion of over 300 English women writers out of history before Jane Austen; to constantly challenging and debunking western stereotypes about Muslim women in the media; to fighting for their rights; including their rights to dress how they want – the Burkini fiasco; to promoting peace and building intercultural bridges in schools through literature; and how fed up she is in wasting her energies in constantly having to defend her faith, when she should be just writing her latest novel.


Achieving Publication through Radical Revision

Room 301Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar leads this workshop that will focus on trying to repurpose that piece of writing we have languishing at the back of a drawer by imagining new possibilities. Note: You must register for workshops separately. Read more and register here.


PANELS DAY1: 1:50 – 3:00

Panel 7. Room 210: Writing in a Foreign Place

Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo.jeg

Writing in and about a foreign place has a certain allure and  mystery. Not only do readers gain access to new worlds through these writings, but the foreign writer often provides a fresh perspective. And sometimes they just don’t get it.  In this panel writers discuss their practices of writing in and about places as foreigners. 

Piia Mustamaki, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Patrick Allington and Tracey Ann Morton with participating moderator David Perry.

Panel 8. Room 305:  Writing for Young Adults

Jane-HoungYoung adult narratives take on a different shape and bring to life different realities according to where they are being told.  In this diverse session, panellists discuss young adult literature from China, to Indonesia, Singapore and Macau.
Eliza Handayani, Jane Houng, Iwan Sulistiawan, You Chengcheng, Sunita lad Bhamray with participating moderator Chris Raja.


Panel 9. Room 312: Language Crossings

Page Richards

There are words in certain languages that are not translatable.  Writers often make a decision to drop words from one language into another to convey meaning.  But where is the line?   How are those decisions made? And what does language crossing do to change/challenge and bringing in new meaning to a text?
Page Richards, Osamah Sami, Ricardo Pinto with participating moderator Nick Jose

3:00 – 3:15 Tea/coffee Break

3:15- 3:45 Feature Session: From Word to World - Conference of the Birds Room 101


Sholeh Wolpé reads and performs her interpretation and translation of the mystic Sufi Persian epic, The Conference of the Birds. Introduced by Sanaz Fotouhi.

A civilization or culture is uniquely informed by its language, and language exists as a matrix of its civilization. Hence, literature has the power to shift perspectives and to realign closely guarded boundaries. Therefore, literary translation as mere transfer of meaning from one language to another is not only counterproductive, it is also perhaps a form of murder. A good literary translator is more than an interpreter of words, rather he or she stands in the middle as the interpreter of two cultures, groups, or civilizations. How do we connect to a poem or story’s core, as it exists in the source language, and guide it into the target language not as something dead, but a vibrant living work of literature?


PANELS DAY1: 3:50 – 5:00

 Panel 10. Room 210: Writing about Place

OraOngPhoto2016Places are important in how we define ourselves.  The representation of places and how we relate to them in literature plays an integral part in how we project our identities and allegiances. Join writers and academics as they examine the importance of place in literature.
Melissa Lucashenko, Jame DiBiasio, Ora-Ong Chakron and Christopher Clark.  Moderated by Tracey Ann Morton


Panel 11. Room 305: Women Writing Asia

Ingrid WoodrowHow do women writers across Asia define themselves and the region? In this diverse panel women discuss how women are shaping their own identity and  images of Asia.
Qaisra Shahraz, Ingrid Woodrow, Maribel Kawsek and Farheen Chaudhry. Moderated by Neeta Gupta.


5:05 - 5:45 Book Launches Room 210

JYL Koh_square low resTim Tomlinson and Julie Koh and Qaisra Shahraz launch their books. Details here.





BREAK (5:45-6:30)

6:30 - Conference Welcome Dinner - Hosted by Sun Yat-sen University. For all registered delegates. Zijingyuan Hotel dining room, on campus.


8:05 - 8:30  Book Launches Room 210

JOSHUA IpJoshua Ip, Alexandra Gregori, Grace Chia and David Perry launch their books.





8:30 – late -  Readings Room 210


Readers include: Jame DiBiasio, Romi Grossberg, Susanna Ho, Suzanne Kamata, Tracey Ann Morton, Mishi Saran, Sally Breen, and Sunita lad Bhamray. To join this open mic, contact Sanaz Fotouhi



DAY 2:  Saturday 26th November

9:00 - 9:30 Keynote by Linda Jaivin. Room 101

Linda Jaivin

'The Accidental Translator'

Forty years after her professor at Brown University persuaded her (dragged her, kicking and screaming - ‘I’m no good at languages!’) to take her first course in Chinese, Linda Jaivin is still a little amazed that she can write ‘literary translator’ on her CV.  She describes an accidental journey to translation that encompasses being taken under the wing of China’s most famous translator-team in the early 1980s and a chance meeting on a Hong Kong subway train...’ 

MORNING WORKSHOP:  9:35 - 12:00

Translation as Play: A Literary Translation Work  Room 301

Workshop leaders Kyoko Yoshida and James Shea, with Kate Griffin, will  focus on traditional and unconventional translation practices. This workshop explores the creative possibilities in the overlap between translation and writing. Designed for translators as well as writers looking for generative methods.  Note: You must register for workshops separately. Read more and register here

PANELS DAY 2: 9:35 - 10:45

Panel 12. Room 210: Literary Connections Across Continents

dai fanHow does one connect to an international network of literary people?  What is the importance of it for writers, translators, and publishers? Listen to this panel of global writers and academics as they talk about the importance of international literary connections and their experiences of working across continents. 
Alexandra Buchler, Julie Beveridge Hélder Beja, Eliza Vitri Handayani and Dai Fan. Moderated by David Lopez-del Amo

Panel 13. Room 305: Claiming Asia: intersections of East and  West

Lucy NeaveIn the 21st century, how do writers from the West immerse themselves in Asia as something more than just an exotic backdrop. Is such immersion even possible? Panellists discuss in light of their own imaginative practice. Patrick Allington, Lucy Neave and Sally Breen.  Moderated by Mridula Chakraborty.  


Panel 14. Room 210: On Indonesian Literatures: Towards APWT 2017

ELIZAIndonesia will be APWT’s 2017 host. Come and familiarise yourself with our future hosts and their literature.

Thanks to great translations and global recognition, Indonesian literature is fast becoming popular around the world.   Join Indonesian writers and academics as they discuss the status of Indonesian literature locally and globally. Muhammad Zuhdi, Eliza Handayani talk with participating moderator Sonia Piscayanti.


10:45 – 11:00 Tea Break

PANELS DAY 2: 11:00– 12:00

Panel 15. Room 210: Indie Publications in Asia-Pacific

Hélder BejaIn the recent years, alternative and small press anthologies and journals in English have become popular across Asia.  Join some of those involved in the creation of these publications as they talk about the perils and jubilations of these publications.
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Rachel Edwards, Hélder Beja, and Suzanne Kamata. Moderator TBA. 


Panel 16. Room 305: Reflections on the Practice of Writing

Julienne_van_LoonWhat does it mean to be a writer in our region? Join writers as they reflect on the writing process and what it means to be a writer.Julienne van Loon, Joe Milan, Osamah Sami and Marshall Moore. Moderated by Kate Rogers



Panel 17. Room 312: Writing and New Media


New Media and technologies have reframed and reshaped how we define writing and who is considered a writer. This panel examines how various platforms are shifting and challenging the writing process.
Dora Wong, Runar Helgi Vignisson and Kevin Maher. Participating moderator Omar Musa.  


12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 1:30 Keynote: Robin Hemley on Travel Writing in the 21st Century  

robin-hemley-2012Room 101

Robin will speak about observing the world as a writer/traveler, keeping oneself purposefully off balance in order to better understand the complexities of the world.


1:35 – 2:50  APWT’s Annual General Meeting. Room 101


Please attend the AGM. You will elect APWT's new Board and help plan an exciting future for APWT. New Core Partners will be announced and students from the University of Macau will make a brief presentation.




2:50 – 3:00 Tea Break 


WORKSHOP ‘Person To Poem To Prose: Drafting new work in multiple genres. Room 301

Tim Tomlinson

Tim Tomlinson takes you between Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-fiction.Kwame Dawes has said that his poems sometimes begin as marginalia; he responds to the work of other poets in the margins of their pages, then shapes the marginalia into poems. The first half of this session springs from that premise. Note: You must register for workshops separately. Read more and register here.

PANELS DAY2: 3:00 – 4:00

Panel 18. Room 312: Page to Screen



Benjamin Law and Osamah Sami talks to Nury Vittachi about the process of turning something from the page onto the big screen.



Panel 19. Room 305:  Teaching Creative Writing in Asia

Teaching creative writing in English as a second language in Asia has its challenges. But it also leads to amazing findings about cultural differences and reactions to the creative process.  Creative writer teachers from across Asia discuss and reflect on this process. Dai Fan, Suzanne Kamata, with participating moderator Adam Narnst

Panel 20. Room 312:  Poetic Immersions

How are poets inspired? Poets examine immersion in different environments and how that affects their writing process.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Grace Chia, Adam Aitken, and Nhã Thuyên with participating moderator James Shea


4:05 - 5:00 Feature Session: Room 101. Finding the Author’s voice in China: New Genres, Experimentation & Foreign Influence. 


Chinese literarure has been having a hard time finding audicences abroad. Social realism & magic realism are giving way to new topics & genres in the work of younger authors. Speaking and reading in this session will be Ma Lilin (pen name  Ma Ke), Lin Weipan, He Xuequn, David Lopez-del Amo, and Wen Wenjin. Moderator: Chen Peng.   


5:05 – 5:45  Open Mic. Room 210

Some of the readers include Sonia PiscayantiKevin Maher, and Kawika Guillermoand more.  Email Sanaz if you want to be part of this open mic.


6:00- Closing Dinner (off-campus) - Kesmido Yunnan Restaurant

Assemble at 6:00 PM to take taxis to the restaurant. (Assembly point will be advised). A memorable Yunnan feast with entertainment has been organised for us.

Spoken Word: Open Mic - Around 10 PM - Around Midnight.

We are invited to join the local ‘Spoken Word’ writers at Loft 345, an arts warehouse. To join this reading, sign up with Sally Breen before 1 November. Address: 4F, Xiaogang Garden, 19 Qian Gui Dajie, Jiangnan Donglu, Haizhu District. Directions here.



DAY 3: Sunday 27th November

MORNING WORKSHOP: 10:00 – 12:30

Coming to Your Senses, led by Shelley Kenigsberg - Room 301



Experience your senses in new and interesting ways (all pleasurable) and have the chance to awaken new vocabulary, devise a new lexicon to use in your writing. Note: You must register for workshops separately. Read more and register here.



6:00 PM onwards Readings & Music with Hong Kong poets at Orange Peel, Flat A-C, 2/F, Ho Lee Comm Bldg, 38-44 D'Aguilar Street, Central. 

We are pleased to welcome Hong Kong satirist/musician/author Neville Sarony to this event.

Event details HERE


DAY 4: Monday 28th November - MACAU

0-livraria6:00-7:30 PM TAPAS FOR THE SOUL

Readings in Macau. Details here.

Join us at Macau's Portuguese Bookshop for an excellent evening.