The Emerging Writer's Festival Launch

Phoebe Tay
Ever been to a writer's festival launch where there was a Deaf MC and Deaf guest speakers? This year the organisers of the Emerging Writer's Festival actually made it happen for the very first time. There was a Deaf writer who contributed an article to The Emerging Writer book which was launched during the event.
Posted by: 
Phoebe Tay on 12/08/2013
The cover of the book entitled The Emerging Writer.

The Emerging Writer's Festival was the first time having Deaf speakers at a book launch in Australia.

On the 30th May, 3 of us 'Deafies' were invited to present at The Emerging Writer's Festival Launch. It was the very first time having Deaf speakers at a book launch in Australia, so it was a milestone for all of us. The audience was comprised of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and Deaf people came to support us on the night. Ross Onley-Zerkel was the MC for the launch and his visual presentation and sense of humour livened up the night. He had everyone in the audience laughing. Stephanie Linder, a Deaf writer, presented her story and explained how she used a mind-map to help her organise her ideas in order to compensate for English being her second language. She also spoke about the challenge of putting words to paper. Their presentations were very engaging and interesting.

The Deaf Writer – Does it Exist?

During the Emerging Writer Festival launch I did a short presentation on my article The Deaf Writer – Does it Exist? that was published in The Emerging Writer book. The article came to fruition after I interviewed 5 Deaf writers on their perspectives of the label the Deaf writer. I talked about how every Deaf person has their own unique journey influenced by their different backgrounds. Upbringing, culture and language can all impact what the writer writes because each person has their own worldview – one that is shaped by external influences.

Writing this article gave me much insight into the individual perspectives of different Deaf people and presenting in front of an audience both challenged me personally and validated my learning. It has been an interesting journey and it is intensely rewarding to have my article published in an actual book. It is a first for me and a stepping stone towards getting more articles published in the future and perhaps even writing my own book someday.


Many thanks go to Sam Twyford-Moore, the director of The Emerging Writer's Festival and the organisers, Fiona Tuomy from Writer's Victoria and Arts Access Victoria, for their support and for making this project happen. Karen McQuigg, a Deaf writer that I interviewed for my article mentioned that there are lots of different worlds out there that go unnoticed and that a good writing community is one that includes and takes in this diversity and then uses it in their own writing. It's great to see the organisers of the festival launch, and everyone else, including the Deaf community in their event and celebrating this cultural and social diversity.


To purchase a copy of The Emerging Writer book, please visit this link:

Phoebe also has a blog which she updates regularly with stories and reflections. The link to her blog is:

Readers comments (2)

Congratulations on your publication and your presentation, Phoebe. This sounds like it was a great event. Now we just have to persuade the Melbourne Writer's Festival to include more such events in their schedule...

Thank you Caitlin! Yes more of such events at the MWF will be great! :)

Comment on this article