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Noëlle Janaczewska is a playwright, poet, essayist, and author of The Book of Thistles (UWA Publishing)—part environmental history, part poetry, part memoir. Shortlisted for the 2018 Mascara Avant-garde Awards. 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 writing has been produced, broadcast and published locally and internationally, and she is the recipient of 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 and literary journals, in feature films, at festivals and as artists’ books (Dorothy Lamour’s Life as a Phrasebook). Her first collection, Scratchland (UWA Publishing Poetry Series), came out in 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 and Teacup in a Storm), a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Mrs Petrov’s Shoe), the Playbox-Asialink Playwriting Competition and the Griffin Award (both for Songket). Her audio works across drama and nonfiction have received the 2020 NSW Premier’s Digital History Prize (Experiment Street) and eight AWGIE Awards. As well as an Asialink Literature Residency in Korea and Fellowships from the Australia Council, Noëlle has held the Eric Dark Fellowship (for literary nonfiction) from Varuna Writers’ Centre, and a Creative Fellowship from the University of Queensland. 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: Mrs C Private Detective (ABC RN, 2022); The End of Winter (Siren Theatre Company, Sydney, 2022); Experiment Street (ABC RN, 2019); Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue (Q Theatre/Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Sydney, 2018); audio scripts for the Rome: City and Empire exhibition (National Museum of Australia and the British Museum, 2018) and Good With Maps (Siren Theatre Company, multiple seasons, 2016 – 2021). Dear Scott— Noëlle’s collected letters to the erstwhile Minister for Immigration and Border Protection was presented at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs. It’s one of a number of pieces she’s written protesting the Australian government’s treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers.

Noëlle also presents performance essays—a term she coined to describe a hybrid which mashes the essay, spoken word and the monologue with a range of other sources and genres. 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.

She lives with her partner on unceded Gadigal land in Sydney’s inner west.


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