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About

Noëlle Janaczewska is Sydney-based playwright, poet, essayist, and author of The Book of Thistles (UWA Publishing, 2017). Much of her work deals with history’s gaps and silences, focusing on people, plants, creatures and events overlooked or marginalised in official records. Noëlle’s work has been produced, broadcast and published locally and internationally, and in 2014 she received a Windham Campbell Prize from Yale University for her body of work as a dramatist.

Noëlle’s poems have been performed live, set to music, and broadcast on ABC Radio National. They have appeared in anthologies, literary journals and artists’ books. Her first collection, Scratchland, is being published by UWA Publishing in its Poetry Series and will be out February 2020.

In Australia, Noëlle’s plays have won two AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild Industry Excellence) Awards for Community and Youth Theatre (Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue, 2019; Teacup in a Storm, 2017), a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Mrs Petrov’s Shoe), the Playbox-Asialink Playwriting Competition and the Griffin Award (Songket). Her audio works across drama and nonfiction have received eight AWGIE Awards. As well as an Asialink Literature Residency in Korea and Fellowships from the Australia Council, she has held the Eric Dark Fellowship (for literary nonfiction) from Varuna Writers’ Centre, and a University of Queensland Creative Fellowship. A graduate of Oxford and London Universities, with a doctorate from the University of Technology, Sydney, Noëlle continues her relationship with the University of Queensland as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Communication and Arts.

Recent works include: Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue (The Q/Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Sydney 2018); The Children’s Audio Tour for the Rome: City and Empire exhibition (National Museum of Australia and the British Museum, 2018); Seoul City Sue (ABC Radio National, 2018) and Good With Maps (Siren Theatre Company, Regional NSW tour 2018, Edinburgh 2017, Sydney 2016). In 2015 Noëlle performed Dear Scott— her collected letters to the then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs, one of a number of pieces she’s written in protest against the government’s treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees.

Since 2006 Noëlle has written performance essays—a term she coined to describe a hybrid which draws not only on the essay and the monologue, but also on field reports, memoir, spoken word, cultural criticism, reportage and the tradition of the illustrated lecture. She has presented these in Indonesia and China as well as Australia. The Hannah First Collection, 1919-1949 was created for the Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, and Blasted Island—Nauru’s backstory was part of the Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

Noëlle is a member of 7-ON Playwrights. Their immersive theatre collaboration We are the Ghosts of the Future was produced in Sydney in 2015.

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