2020 Writers

YASMIN ALI is a Somali-Australian gothic noir fiction writer with a strong interest in using allegory to conceptualise Somali issues, traditions and folk tales. She hopes to bring these to a broader public in her writing, and to share another side of her country. She plans to develop ‘The Housewife’s Lament’ into a novel.

RYAN BAUTISTA is a Filipino-Australian writer. His list-style features have appeared in Uni Junkee and Punkee while his essays have appeared in SBS Voices, Voiceworks and the Sydney Review of Books. He has performed readings at the National Young Writers’ Festival and in the Writing and Society Research Centre’s ‘Room to Listen’ series.

DUY QUANG MAI is originally from Hanoi in Vietnam and completed his HSC in Sydney during 2020. He is the author of the chapbooks Homeward and Journals To (Story Factory, 2018-19). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a range of publications including The American Poetry Review, Cordite Poetry Review, The Lifted Brow, Overland and Rabbit.

YASIR ELGAMIL writes: ‘Growing up, my creative writing focused entirely on fantasy and science fiction, after the favourite cartoons and books that saturated my childhood. High school was a difficult time. I was still unsure of myself as a person, and where I fit into white spaces. Reflecting on my ethnic background as a Sudani/Sudanese person, I reached into the deep cultural affinity I had with my country, and channelled into my writing emotions that were tied with homeland memories. Recognising and claiming my identity was powerful, important. And my creativity has bloomed because of it.’

CHRISTINE LAI is a writer, photographer and poet with an avid fascination for observing the conventions of everyday life. She explores the spaces language occupies in the relationships people form with others, and seeks to capture moments of liminal space and places where time seemingly stands still—the in-between. She received an inaugural Sydney Review of Books–Bankstown Arts Centre Residency and her work was featured in the 2020 Bankstown Biennale.

NADIA MAUNSELL is an emerging Western Sydney writer and an editor for Tharunka, UNSW’s student magazine. She is particularly interested in writing about personal histories and experimenting with genre, an aspiration that The Writing Zone has allowed her to refine. Her work has been published in SBS Voices, the Sydney Review of Books, Newsworthy and The Junction. Nadia received an inaugural Sydney Review of Books–Bankstown Arts Centre Residency and her work was featured in the 2020 Bankstown Biennale. She credits all of her success to her family and friends, particularly her mother and grandmother.

TINA NYFAKOS is a literary fiction writer from South-Western Sydney. Her work explores the psychological and existential absurdity of human experience. She was a 2019 recipient of a WestWords-Varuna residency and was among the 2021 WestWords Academy cohort. She has been published in SBS Voices and was a winner in the ‘Living Stories’ Western Sydney Writing Competition.

KIM PHAM is a screenwriter and filmmaker from Western Sydney who currently lives with her loving partner, loving sister and three loving little doggies. She has always been fascinated by cinema and has been working with The Writing Zone on her own screenplays, with the hope of becoming a film director in future. She was awarded a 2020 Western Sydney Emerging Writers’ Fellowship by WestWords and, through Diversity Arts Australia’s I AM NOT A VIRUS campaign, launched her debut short animated film Catch Kindness in 2021.

MARTYN REYES is a Filipino-Australian writer and artist working on Gadigal land. He explores various intersections of identity in the form of creative nonfiction. His work can be found in the Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Voices, LIMINAL Magazine and a range of other venues. Martyn received an inaugural Sydney Review of Books–Bankstown Arts Centre Residency and his work was featured in the 2020 Bankstown Biennale.

VINIANA ROKOBILI is a Fijian-Australian poet who writes: ‘I grew up among a lot of different cultures with influences both bad and good. My Fijian culture, including the language, customs, cooking and traditional dances, has had a significant impact on my understanding of gender roles and culture. I’ve always had a passion for creative writing, books and poetry, which I believe I got from my witty father. Growing up around Roselands, I’ve experienced the stereotypes applied to and strong stigma against Pacific Islanders—and I want my writing to encourage other Pacific Islanders to do the same.’

SOPHIYA SHARMA is a Punjabi writer working on unceded Darug land. She is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology writing about rural transgender performers of her native region. Her dissertation explores intersections between modern conceptions of sexuality and an enduring ritual tradition which offers an alternative language to articulate alterity. Recently she has also been trying her hand at creative writing and literary criticism. She has been published in the Sydney Review of Books.

HUYEN HAC HELEN TRAN is a Vietnamese-Australian writer and poet working on Gadigal Land. Her writings evolve around memory, intergenerational migrant experience, sexuality and the self. Her work has appeared in a range of publication venues including SBS Voices and Peril. She received a 2021 Sydney Review of Books–Bankstown Arts Centre Residency and currently works in publishing.