Talking Writing: India

India has long been the subject of literary fascination, from within and without. But what does it mean to write about a country, particularly when your sense of belonging may be complicated or compromised? And as far as muses go, what particular appeal or challenges does India present as a place and culture? Manisha Jolie Amin (Dancing to the Flute), Roanna Gonsalves (The Permanent Resident), and Bem Le Hunte (There, Where the Pepper Grows) discuss their personal experiences of India as a literary influence. Chaired and programmed by editor and writer Zoya Patel.


Wednesday 5 April, 6.30-8.00pm

NSW Writers’ Centre, Callan Park, Rozelle

$10 for non-members, free for members

Members are also welcome to bring a guest for free




Manisha Jolie Amin was born in Kenya to Indian parents who immigrated to Australia in 1974. Her love of Indian stories and the memories she has of living different lives in different countries have formed a key part of her writing. She is the author of several short stories and novel, Dancing to the Flute which was published both in Australia and overseas. With a Doctorate in creative writing, Manisha mentors and coaches people and students in their writing practice. She is the Executive Director of Nautuki Theatre and CEO of Media Access Australia – a charity making the digital world more accessible for people with disability.

Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident, a book of short fiction published by UWAP in November 2016. Her series of radio documentaries, On the tip of a billion tongues, commissioned and broadcast by Earshot, ABC RN, is a socio-political portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, and is co-founder co-editor of Southern Crossings. She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales, and is a highly experienced facilitator and teacher of creative writing workshops for all ages within communities as well as at university. She can be found at @roannagonsalves on Twitter and at

Bem Le Hunte is Indian by birthright, British by descent and Australian by choice. She is the author of several short stories, poetry and three novels. The Seduction of Silence and There, Where the Pepper Grows have been published internationally to critical acclaim and Father of all Storiesis published on - a literary portal for published writers she co-created with fellow Australian authors. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology, and Course Director of the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. Before joining academic life, she worked in the creative industries as a creative consultant, brand strategist and writer. She has a BA and MA in Social Anthropology from Cambridge and a Doctorate in Creative Writing from Sydney University, as well as professional qualifications in journalism and advertising.

Zoya Patel founded online feminist journal Feminartsy in 2014, following four years as Editor-In-Chief of Lip Magazine.  Zoya was Highly Commended in the Scribe Publishing Non-Fiction Prize 2015, was the 2014 recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers’ Fellowship, and was named the 2015 ACT Young Woman of the Year. @zoyajpatel

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