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.

Minutes of 2016 AGM (China)

Annual General Meeting
26 November 2016
Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou


Present: (41 members and two guests): Nury Vittachi (President), Sanaz Fotouhi (incoming Executive Director), Ian Smith (Treasurer), Jane Camens (Secretary/outgoing Exec Director), Qaisra Shahraz (UK), Dai Fan (SYSU, China), Alexandra Büchler (Literature Across Frontiers/EU), Tim Tomlinson (NY Writers Workshop), Deedle Tomlinson, Charlson Ong (University of the Philippines), Mridula Nath Chakraborty (Monash University), Neeta Gupta (Bookmark Festival, Jaipur, New Delhi), Giusi Tamburello (University of Palermo, Italy), Lucy Neave (ANU, Canberra), Kate Rogers (CCCU, Hong Kong), Susanna Ho (HKUST, Hong Kong), Antony Dapiran (HK), Michele Koh Morollo (Hong Kong), Rebekah Chan (Hong Kong), James Shea (HKBU, Hong Kong), Ralph Semino Galan (University of Santo Tomas, Philippines), Tammy Ho Lai-Ming (Hong Kong), Joshua Ip (Singapore), Chris Clark (US and Taiwan), Kadek Sonia Piscayanti (Indonesia), Eliza Vitri Handayani (Indonesia), Patrick Allington (Australia), Jame Di Biasio (Hong Kong), Liz Packer (Adelaide, Australia), Maribel Kawsek (UP), Ni Xia Ja (Macau), Glenn Timmermans (Macau), Li Jingxiang (Macau), Jose David Lopez-del Amo (Beijing/Spain), Hope Samanpan-Yu (Philippines), Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo (UST, Philippines), Jun Criz Reys (University of the Philippines), Jose Dalisay (UP), June Dalisay (UP), Jeena Kani Marquiz (UP), Ora-Ong Chakorn, (Thailand), Devi Arumugam (Malaysia).

Apologies: Xu Xi, Jo Lusby, John Corbett, Putu Kerti Nitaisih

1. APWT’s President (Nury Vittachi) declared the meeting open at 2 pm and called for a volunteer minute-taker. Qaisra volunteered.

2. Acceptance of previous minutes. No objections.

3. Recognition of Andrew Bond’s contribution.

Andrew was a valued member of the APWT family. His untimely death has left a hole in APWT. JC particularly acknowledged his help with the website and praised him as ‘a really lovely spirit’. (Joshua Ip later wrote a poem commemorating Andrew, which he read at a post-conference reading at the Portuguese Bookshop in Macau. Available on APWT's Facebook chat group page here.

4. APWT Inc’s Registration in Australia

The Secretary (JC) reported on the successful registration on January 6th 2016 of APWT Inc. in Qld, Australia. APWT’s bank is now ANZ, moved from HSBC in Hong Kong, which imposed prohibitive bank charges. Jane is the legally responsible officer/Secretary of the incorporated association, Nury the President and Ian Smith the Treasurer. Both Jane and Ian seek to hand over their roles (which can be combined in one person) but the Qld registration requires APWT’s Secretary to reside in Queensland or live within 62 Kilometers of the Qld border. Jane will remain nominally in the position, although the main business of APWT will now be handled by APWT’s new paid General Manager, Sanaz Fotouhi.

5. Treasurer’s report

Ian distributed and reported on APWT’s financial position —income, including 284 paid memberships, grants (Australia Council for the Arts supporting 8 Australians to join the China conference, and an Asian-Australia grant for indigenous writers to attend our 2017/2018 conferences), and paid conference registrations, as well as the conference and working expenditure. The association’s financials can’t be audited until the newly registered APWT Inc association has existed for 12 months (January 2016-2017). The audit will submitted in early February to the Management Committee and Qld Dept of Fair Trading and our Management Committee. The audited financials will be made available to any APWT financial member on request. We will apply for charitable status for APWT to encourage future donations.

At the time of the meeting, factoring in known commitments from the conference, APWT had a small positive balance (AU$5,000).

The Treasurer’s report was accepted without dispute.

JC called for members to help bring in new members to assist the bottom line.

6. Core Partner Consortium

JC reported that in order to pay a contracted general manger (Sanaz), we APWT is building an international consortium of Core Partners, each willing to commit US$3,800 (AU$5,000) per annum for each of three years, with an understanding that each can withdraw at the end of each year should the institution’s resources and priorities change.

JC thanked APWT’s inaugural Core Partners—Griffith University, the Australian National University, and RMIT—and stressed the need to further build the consortium. RMIT was especially thanked for payment upfront of AU$15,000, being its three year contribution.

Core Partners are invited to have a representative on the Management Committee (responsible for the direction of APWT and overseeing the finances) or the Advisory Board.

APWT will continue to approach universities in Asia and Australia to join the consortium, eg University of Macau and Yale-NUS.

(Note post AGM: in early December two new Core Partners confirmed: University of New South Wales, and the University of Technology Sydney.)

 JC will recommend to the Management Committee in early February that APWT contract Sanaz Fotuhoui to work for the association for pay equivalent to US$41,200/per annum for a 35 hour week (ie AU$55,000/per annum for a 35 hour week), but pro-rata’d for the time being to 3 days per week (so she would receive payment equivalent to AU$31,000 in 2017… until additional institutions contribute to the consortium.

7. Introduction of the new Executive Director (Sanaz Fotouhi). Sanaz is an alumnus of the University of Hong Kong, UNSW and ANU. She was appointed as new Executive Director/General Manager for APWT. Jane will continue to support Sanaz and her work in the background, as required. Mridula Nath Chakraborty praised Sanaz’s work, skills and accomplishments — a multi-faceted leader. Sanaz expressed her gratitude for the opportunity, saying she ‘felt honoured’ to take it up.

8. Election of the new Management Committee and Advisory Board.

The following nominated members were elected unopposed.

Management Committee

Nury Vittachi (President)
Jane Camens (Acting Secretary/Founder)
Ian Smith (Acting Treasurer)
Sally Breen (Griffith University—Core Partner)
Lucy Neave (ANU—Core Partner)
Mridula Nath Chakraborty

Advisory Board

Julienne Van Loon (RMIT—Core Partner)
Alexandra Büchler (Literature Across Frontiers)
Neeta Gupta (Jaipur Bookmark Festival, India)
Robin Hemley (Yale-NUS)
Jose Dalisay (University of the Philippines)
Qaisra Shahraz (UK)
Kate Griffin (Writers Centre Norwich)
Dai Fan (Sun Yat-sen U, Guangzhou, China)
Eliza Vitra Handayani (InterSastra)

Sanaz commented that it was important to have representation from each country taking part in conferences.

Jane urged the advisory board to help APWT to continue as a financially solvent association by helping it grow, advising on future directions.

Nury requested all members to become more active participants.

9. Website 

With Andrew's passing, APWT needs a new website we are again able to control. Sanaz presented a proposal for a new APWT website, saying that it needed to be more interactive, easier to maintain and linked to Facebook and Twitter. She presented 2 options. JC recommended that her proposals be presented the Management Committee (due to meet in February) for approval.

10. Future conferences

2017 - Bali Indonesia- host Ganesha University- Kadek Sonia Piscayanti introduced herself and said Ganesha U can provide venue, volunteers, local printing and dinners, but no funding.
Jane explained that APWT generally contacts participants, and does the programming. Normally our university host provide the venue, volunteers, printing, local publicity to attract local participants, and does all necessary ground work such as preparing the venues.

2018- Brisbane/Gold Coast, Australia, after the Commonwealth Games (no details provided)

11. Macau University presentation
A student from the University of Macau gave a slide presentation of a literary project they have embarked on, involving interviews with writers and opportunities for residencies for established writers. Glenn Timmermans spoke of Macau University’s likely interest in hosting an APWT conference, possibly in 2019 and possibly linked to this project. Macau University will consider becoming a Core Partner.

9. Other matters

• Sun Yat-sen University was praised and thanked for hosting an excellent conference. Special thanks to Professor Dai Fan, Director of the School of Creative Writing in English who, with a handful of dedicated staff and many volunteers, looked after us generously and efficiently.

• Qaisra added that in future that university and staff should be invited to and encourage to take part in the conference and to benefit from the many wonderful panels and events taking place on their premises.

10. Nury declared the meeting closed.

Minutes recorded by Qaisra Shahraz, with approved amendments (JC).