17 April - 2 May 2020
We have officially appointed three poets from across the land and anointed them our ‘Batch Poet Laureates’. Across the three week festival we will be reading the real time poetical creations of Winnie Dunn, Charles O’Grady and Mel Ree as they take a seat at the bar, chat with artists, take in shows and dig around in the dressing rooms of the festival for inspiration.
Every week we will be posting up poems here from the notebooks of these fine writers inspired by what sparks Batch ignites.
Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the General Manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the Sydney Review of Books, The Lifted Brow, The Griffith Review, Meanjin, SBS Life, Southerly and Cordite. She is the editor of several anthologies including Sweatshop Women, The Big Black Thing and Bent Not Broken. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.
Charles O’Grady is a transgender playwright, director, and journalist based between Sydney and Melbourne. Charles’ full length works for the stage include Kaleidoscope (Montague Basement 2016; Shopfront Arts 2018), Telescope (Montague Basement 2016), Are We Awake? (Red Line 2017; Kings Cross Theatre 2018), and Before the Water Gets Cold (Smoking Gum 2016). Charles self-directed both Kaleidoscope and Telescope. In 2019 Charles directed Ladylike Theatre Collective’s Project Bestfriendship at The Joan as part of the Q Indie program. He also co-wrote and directed Fragility: the Final Refuge with Sean Maroney at Giant Dwarf for 2017’s Sydney Fringe Festival. Charles was the Assistant Director and Besen fellow on Declan Greene’s The Homosexuals, or ‘Faggot’s (Griffin, Malthouse) in 2017, and was Assistant Director and Dramaturgical Support to Priscilla Jackman on STC’s 2018 production Still Point Turning: the Catherine McGregor Story. In 2019 Charles was nominated for Best Artist at the Australian LGBTI Awards for his work in queer and trans representation through theatre. Charles was the resident artist at City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces Guild in 2018 and a member of the 2018/2019 Besen Writer’s Program at Malthouse Theatre.
Mel Ree trained as an actor, identifies as a dancer, poet and fierce woman. Born in Papua New Guinea to the daughter of a chief, her ancestors sit at the base of her spine spurring her on to tell her story, hoping to spark wildfires within listeners that burn down differences, uniting us in our pain and understanding of this human condition.