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Noëlle Janaczewska is Sydney-based playwright, poet and essayist. Much of her work explores history’s gaps and silences, focusing on people, plants, creatures and events overlooked or marginalised in official records. Produced, broadcast and published throughout Australia and overseas, she is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably a Windham Campbell Prize (2014) from Yale University, which recognised her body of dramatic writing.

In Australia, Noëlle’s plays have won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Mrs Petrov’s Shoe), the Playbox-Asialink Playwriting Competition and the Griffin Award (Songket). Her radio works have received seven AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild) Awards, most recently for the nonfiction feature My Life in Cookbooks (2014) and the drama Random Red (2012). 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 (2012/3). 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: Good With Maps (Siren Theatre Company/KXT, Sydney, 2016); Teacup in a Storm (The Q/Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Sydney, 2016); The History of the Single Girl and The Other Polish Explorer both for ABC Radio National in 2015; Dear Scott— (fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, 2015) and several other pieces protesting the Australian government’s treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers.

In 2006 Noëlle began presenting 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 her performance essays in Indonesia and China as well as Australia. Blasted Island—Nauru’s backstory was part of the Sydney Opera House 2014 Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

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

Alongside stage and radio, Noëlle publishes poems, essays and other short pieces in anthologies, literary journals and online magazines. Her chapbook-length poem Dorothy Lamour’s Life as a Phrasebook is published by Wayzgoose Press (Australia).

The Book of Thistles ‘part accidental memoir, part environmental history and part exploration of the performative voice on the page’ will be released by UWA Publishing in October 2017.

Noëlle writes about food and matters culinary at


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