Maggie gets super excited when Nadia and I get home from anywhere, and she has different ways of expressing this excitement. Usually she’ll tear out the front door when we open it, run into the yard, grab her rope toy, and want us to play tug with her, like, right, right now. If we’re not too tired, one of us usually will.
Nadia does a lot of cool stuff, but she’s not the best at telling the world about it or at celebrating her successes. That’s where I come in :) Going forward, I’m going to write about all the fantastic stuff she gets up to.
To kick things off, here’s some of the fabulousness she’s been up to this year…
Nadia has had two publications so far this year — one creative, one academic.
August in Lahore
On 13 March ‘August in Lahore’ was published in Issue 4: Performing gender of Not Very Quiet (“a twice yearly online journal for women's poetry”).
On 1 May ‘Poetic encounters: Language, sound and poetry’ was published in Issue 9.1: Inhabiting language of Axon (“an international peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the characteristics of creativity and the creative process.”) .
Sound is essential to poetry and poetry is an essential element of human language. As a simultaneous trilingual engaged in the study of multilingual poetic expression, I will use the development of my own plurilingual poetic ‘instinct’ to map the location of poetry within and between languages. I argue that poetry does not grow out of language so much as inhabits the basic aural building blocks of language, the potential for it existing always just beneath the surface of speech. This is tested by examining multilingual poetry as well as translations of poetry across languages to see what is lost and what emerges.
Nadia isn’t just a publishee, she’s also a publisher.
Australian Multilingual Writing Project
On 6 May Nadia published Issue 2 of the fantastic Australia Multilingual Writing Project (AMWP).
AMWP is the first ever journal of multilingual writing that includes both the text and audio of the pieces published.
This project aims to provide a space to showcase some of the linguistic complexity that resists and persists in Australia today. Multilingual people often engage in what is referred to as ‘code-switching’, which means using two or more languages at the same time in the same piece of communication. Most of the time, this multilingualism is discouraged, seen as demonstrating a lack of proficiency, considered a ‘pollution’ of the dominant language (English), and so on.
This space is different.
Here, multilingual writers can mix their languages with English to their hearts’ content. The work we publish demonstrates the linguistic, aesthetic and creative reach of multilingual writing and seeks to interrupt, enhance, challenge, and generally complicate, the flow of English.
Nadia participated in two events at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF).
Future of Language
‘Future of Language’ was a “special mini-series collaboration with EWF” in which “four poets explore multilingualism in the many forms it takes”.
Since this was part of EWF’s digital festival, the output wasn’t the usual text and audio publication, but a video. This video was included in a poetry installation launched on 24 June and is also available online.
‘Multilingual Writing’ was a conversation with Gabriella Munoz in which they discussed “the art and challenges of writing across languages”.
This was part of the National Writers' Conference (“Australia’s largest gathering of emerging writers”) on 22 June.
Nadia performed her poetry at five events this year.
Black and White
On 23 January she performed at ‘Black and White (Clichés & Expectations: A Rebellion)’, a spoken word event organised as part of ‘Lisa Skye’s Harehole Takeover!’.
We're here, we're queer, and we're not simple caricatures of a lifestyle. We're a diverse group of disparate voices with unique stories and experiences. Screw the boxes seeking to contain us, this is a night to challenge the norm: hetero, homo, gender and anything else binary and boring.
On 29 January she was invited to perform at ‘Rapid Fire’.
With over 35 past incarnations under its belt, Rapid Fire is both the longest running spoken word event at the Hare Hole, and its most popular.
Rapid Fire's recipe for success is simple: give 12 writers 6 minutes each, draw the order from a hat and ensure that nobody goes over time. This formula provides the perfect platform for writers to refine, condense and edit a story, while providing ample time to display their literary brilliance. It is a win for writers and audiences alike.
Love Letters to Feminisms
On 9 March she performed at the Closing Performances of the ‘Love Letters to Feminisms’ series for International Women’s Day 2019.
Love Letters to Feminisms sees Footscray play host to an exciting series of events exploring feminism in its many complicated dimensions. The group exhibition presents selected works from twenty female-identifying artists – all based in Melbourne. They include artists from First Nations backgrounds, refugee and culturally diverse backgrounds, as well as current asylum seekers, newly arrived migrants, LGBTIQ artists and others.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an afternoon of talks, a special session on feminist life drawing, and will culminate in a live performance event at an accessible venue on Saturday 9 March to mark International Women’s Day.
On 17 April she was invited to do a reading at ‘Synthetic Heat Reading Series 2.1’.
Synthetic Heat is an evening of performed poetry, prose, and graphic storytelling. The series centres on nonfiction, which can be understood as writing that is tied closely and referentially to the flesh-world our limbs are entangled in. Or, as Maggie Nelson’s describes it: ‘interesting prose that bears witness to fact, life, and the problematics of having a body in spacetime.’
Co-curated by Melbourne writers and artists Eloise Grills and Ellena Savage, Synthetic Heat throws into relief some of the most invigorating ideas-based lyric storytelling that is emerging from the outside the usual literary establishments.
On 31 May she was commissions to write for ‘these words’, an art exhibition at KINGS.
'these words' considers how artists incorporate language into their practices, challenging the dominance of English in a linguistically diverse country such as Australia. The exhibition explores how language acts as both a unifying force and a barrier; an integral tool for understanding our own culture as well as the culture of others.
Writing accompanying this exhibition is by Nadia Niaz, creator of The Australian Multilingual Writing Project. Nadia is a writer and academic whose work investigates multilingual creative expression, particularly in poetry, the practicalities and politics of translation, and language use among third culture kids and other globally mobile cohorts.
One thing most people don’t know about Nadia is that she is also a narrator. She narrates short stories for EscapePod (“the premier science fiction podcast magazine”); PodCastle (“audio performances of fantasy short fiction and all its subgenres, including urban fantasy, slipstream, high fantasy, and dark fantasy”); and Cast of Wonders (“the leading voice in young adult speculative short fiction”).
This year so far two of her narrations have been published (another is in production):
Finally, Nadia is also an editor. Her biggest editing project this year has been on a major report for a local non-profit.
Lots more to come
But wait, there’s more! We’re only half way through 2019 so stay tuned for more of Nadia’s awesomeness to be featured here :)
Another year, another birthday. (Which, of course, is the very definition of an annual day to celebrate your birth.)
This year we celebrated Nadia’s birthday with dinner at my sister’s house while watching the men’s cricket world cup.
And we got Nadia to blow out only once scented candle — which she was quite okay with :)
Turns out this often the first thing Nadia sees when she wakes up in the morning :)
Of course mornings aren’t the only times Maggie and I cuddle on the bed.
If you want more photos of (mostly) Maggie you should definitely follow Nadia on Instagram.
Nadia and I had an excellent time this afternoon at ‘Love Letters to Feminisms: a live performance of feminist texts’. Organised by the Loving Feminist Literature collective, the event featured several writers, poets, academics, and performers who shared their works and the works of other feminists.
The performances were powerful and emotional, and each one resonated strongly with everyone in the room.
Nadia was one of the performers and she read a piece that honoured the Pakistan women’s movement and all they’ve achieved over the last few decades.
Bonus: the event was held at the Bluestone Church Arts Space in Footscray, which a lovely venue that looks great in selfies :)
Seriously, though, it was a joy to be among so many diverse and enthusiastic feminists in Melbourne. I look forward to attending more of Loving Feminist Literature’s events in the future.
Nadia adores mangoes. Unfortunately, she’s been allergic to them since her late teens.
I, too, adore mangoes. But, given we been married for over fifteen years, I only rarely have them. So, when I do, I make the most of it :)
This is from Nadia’s Instagram account:
To which my response was: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This is Maggie’s “Oh no! Nadia wasn’t just getting dressed for nothing, she really is leaving by the front door now” face. Puppy is not pleased.
Here’s what I shared on Instagram in January 2019. (ICYMI, starting this year I’ll be cross-posting everything I post to Instagram to this blog.)
We had a super hot start to 2019. Maggie, being a very Australian dog, loves the heat.
When the weather is nice, though, we all like to hang out in the garden.
Maggie loves her rope toy.
January saw the start of #SlowSummer on SBS.
Nadia and I went to the Australia Open tennis tournament, where every year we take a selfie.
Melbourne went through three-ish heat waves in January. The last series of hot days ended with rain showers across the city. I work on the 29th floor of a building in the Docklands that has great views.
I finally got around to buying a quality Panama hat. Which, of course, meant that I had to take a selfie while wearing it :)
Nadia wearing a hat, being silly :)