Thursday 18 March / 21.00 p.m / Online
Jessica Zhan Mei Yu’s essay ‘All the Stain Is Tender: The Asian Deluge and White Australia’, published in The White Review No. 30, layers personal experience over a history of anti-Asian legislation in Australia to examine the corrosive effect of generational trauma, and the way languages and ‘official’ histories have long been co-opted as means of oppression. Through archival research into discrimination against immigrants and the buried history of the West Melbourne Swamp, Yu makes a case for ‘racial grief’ as a way to understand the insidious, unquantifiable way that ‘the past embeds itself in your body’, writing against the colonial narratives that have rendered both Indigenous and immigrant histories invisible. Yu will discuss her essay in conversation with Maria Tumarkin.
MARIA TUMARKIN is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of three previous books of ideas, Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland, all of which received critical acclaim in Australia, where she lives. Axiomatic (published in the UK by Fitzcarraldo Editions) won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism in 2019. In 2020 Tumarkin was awarded a Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction.
JESSICA ZHAN MEI YU is a widely-published writer of essays, poetry, fiction and scholarly work. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.
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