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Literature and books form part of our culture and history. In Australia, for instance, only 5 memoirs have been written by Indian women, despite there being around 350 000 Indian Australian women. There is not a single publishing house led by a South Asian woman in Australia and few publishing houses in India are led by women. When the gatekeepers of this industry lack diversity, you end up with literature that is homogenous. Growing up when we thought of inspiring authors, women, or fictional characters, we’d often think of Emily Bronte, Sylvia Plath, JK Rowling, Hermione Granger, or Elizabeth Bennet. Mainstream literature has lacked strong South Asian female characters and authors to reflect our lived experience or relatable characters which help us feel a sense of belonging. While the industry is more welcoming towards diverse content, most of the stories that reach the mainstream are still written by the majority, straight white people, and predominately by men.

We need inspiring authors and characters who reflect our lived experience, this would greatly increase readership and reflect our history in the way that it unfolded.

Join us for our last event as part of the Australian Indian Digital Festival ‘We will write our own stories – South Asian Woman Authors’ on the 22nd of July at 7:00 pm AEST. We’ll be speaking with three female South Asian authors and writers who put pen to paper to ensure that South Asian women are seen, heard, and valued.

Time & Date

22 JULY 2021 via zoom (link to be sent upon registration)

7-8 pm AEST/ 2.30 pm IST 

Our Speakers

Alicia Vrajlal is a Sydney-based journalist and former Editor at HuffPost Australia. Passionate about elevating underrepresented voices through her journalism, she founded the blog Draw Your Box, which focuses on diversity-related content. Prior to HuffPost, Alicia worked at Yahoo and Daily Mail, and made her start in the industry in 2011 by launching her own Australian entertainment blog, I Am Starstruck.
Sushi Das is an award-winning journalist and the chief of staff at RMIT ABC Fact Check. For more than two decades she worked for The Age in various roles and her work has been recognized with two Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards, including Best Columnist. Last year she created an RMIT online course on misinformation and disinformation aimed at helping students create a news-critical mindset. She is also the author of Deranged Marriage, an east-meets-west memoir about arranged marriage. 
Balli Kaur Jaswal is the author of four novels, including Singapore Literature Prize finalist Sugarbread, and the international bestsellers Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. Her debut novel Inheritance won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award. Jaswal’s non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan.com, Harper’s Bazaar India, and Salon.com, among other publications. Currently a lecturer at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, she is preparing for the 2022 release of her upcoming novel.

The event is moderated by Daizy Maan.

During this event we’ll unpack their experiences as authors and writers in Australia. How have they navigated the industry as women of colour? Do they feel as though their voice is valued? What advice would them give to emerging writers? Join us to hear the answers to these questions and more!

You’ll also have the amazing opportunity to hear from Michelle Wade the current Commissioner – South Asia at Global Victoria. Michelle manages Victorian government’s trade, education and investment activities across South Asia.  She is also responsible for the in-market delivery of Victoria’s India Strategy, a significant program of engagement across business, education, arts, tourism, health, sports and start-ups.  She also has an undergraduate degree in arts (English literature) and grew up in Woolgoolga, Australia’s most populous Indian community.






Closing remarks will be given by Vicki Treadell. Vicki is the British High Commissioner to Australia and has also previously served as British Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai, covering Western India, as well as postings to Pakistan and Malaysia. Her career has covered a wide range of policy, resource management and service delivery roles including three years as UK Trade and Investment’s Director for the North West of England. She was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1989 and a Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 2010. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Women of the Future programme.



Limited tickets available.

Comments (1)

Will this event be recorded? I am in the US (Central Time), and it will be at 4:00 a.m. for me.

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