Past Events

M Talks: Australian Writers

By | Past Events



Displacements and Disconnections:

What does it mean for a person to be removed from his or her accustomed environment, or to never really come to terms with that environment in the first place? How does memory and its mutability influence how we behave in the present and the decisions we make for the future? And what is the role of the novelist in today’s seemingly ever more dystopian and disjointed reality? Can a good book really change the way readers think or feel? Dr. Josephine Wilson’s prize-winning work Extinctions examines the life of a man struggling with things familial and familiar, while Dr. Mirandi Riwoe’s acclaimed novella The Fish Girl tells of a girl taken from her village and made to work in an utterly alien environment. This afternoon our celebrated authors will discuss their thoughts on these questions and more, and offer us a taste of the projects that have brought them here to Shanghai.


Dr Josephine Wilson

Dr Josephine Wilson is an acclaimed author. Her novel Extinctions won the 2017 Miles Franklin Award and the 2017 Colin Roderick Award. In 2018 Wilson’s first novel, Cusp (2005), will be re-released, along with her non-fiction essay exploring international adoption, forthcoming in The Dangerous Book of Mothers. During her exchange Josephine will write a new work of non-fiction that begins with the adoption of a child.

Born in Lincolnshire, England, Josephine Wilson migrated to Australia with her family at the age of 6. Dr Wilson holds a Masters from the University of Queensland, and a PhD from the University of Western Australia (UWA). Her publications include creative works (performance, poetry, the novel) and essays and reviews in the interdisciplinary arts. She is the recipient of Australia Council grants, and has sat as a peer for both the Australia Council and the West Australian Department of Culture and the Arts. She was a 2015 finalist in the national ACU Poetry Prize. She has also worked as a dramaturg, and taught across the fields of literary theory and creative writing, cultural studies, performance art and theatre, and visual arts. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan and Murdoch universities, supervised Masters and Honours students, and taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Creative Writing and Visual Arts. Josephine is a respected practitioner with a strong interest in contemporary West Australian art and currently sits on the Board of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA).

Dr Mirandi Riwoe

Dr Mirandi Riwoe (also known as M. J. Tjia) is a Brisbane-based writer. She has been shortlisted for Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize and the Luke Bitmead Bursary. She has also been longlisted for the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize and CWA (UK) Dagger Awards. Her work has appeared in Review of Australian Fiction, Rex, Peril and Shibboleth and Other Stories. Her first full-length novel, She be Damned, will be released by Legend Press (UK) in 2017. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT). Her novella The Fish Girl was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize and was the winner of the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize.

At the Shanghai Writers’ Centre, Mirandi will research and develop her new novel Gold Mountain Woman exploring women and Chinese gold diggers in 19th century North Queensland.

Event detail:

Where: Glam, No.5 The Bund (corner of Guangdong Lu) 广东路20号(外滩5号)7楼
When: 21 Oct 2018 – 4 pm
Tickets: 85 RMB/40 RMB

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By | Past Events


At the end of the 19th century China and tsarist Russia signed a contract to build the Chinese Eastern Railroad.  Before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Russians from the Russian empire moved to Harbin to help build the city and its economy. During the Revolution and the Russian Civil War, thousands of Russian refugees fled to Harbin.  In the 1930s, life changed drastically for Harbiners when Japan occupied Manchuria, and later in 1945, when the Soviet army invaded that region.  By 1950, practically all the Russians had left Manchuria.

One hour followed by Q&A session and signing by author of her book Stateless in Shanghai.

Event detail:
Where: Glam, No.5 The Bund (corner of Guangdong Lu) 广东路20号(外滩5号)7楼
When: 13 Oct 2018 – 4 pm
Tickets: 85 RMB/40 RMB
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Liliane Willens

Liliane Willens was born of Russian parentage in the former French Concession of Shanghai, China. Her parents, she and her siblings experienced World War II under the Japanese military occupation, and later the Chinese civil war between the Nationalists and the communists. While waiting for her US immigration visa, Liliane lived two years under the newly established People’s Republic of China.

When Liliane immigrated to the US, she studied at Boston University where she received her undergraduate degree, M.A. and Ph.D. in French Language and 18th century French Literature. Dr. Willens taught these subjects at Boston College and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She published a book on Voltaire and several articles on 18th century France. Later moving to Washington, DC, she worked for the US Agency for International Development and Peace Corps.

When she retired she gave talks on cruise ships sailing around the world, and presently lectures on China and Old Shanghai in the greater Washington, DC area, in various cities in the US and overseas.

Dr. Willens’s book Stateless in Shanghai has been published in Chinese and in German.


By | Past Events

This illustrated talk will explore the way that the families of two children who would go on to become leading twentieth century novelists became swept up in the dramatic events of 1900. It will also look at what some letters to a New York literary agent from Pearl Buck and Lao She, which are held at an archive in New York, reveal about the interactions between the two in the 1940s. This will be a sequel of sorts to a talk on Buffalo Bill and the Boxers that the same presenter gave at M in 2016, but no familiarity with that presentation or with the events of the Boxer Crisis or the lives of Pearl Buck and Lao She will be presumed.



Where: Glam, No.5 The Bund (corner of Guangdong Lu) 广东路20号(外滩5号)7楼
When: 16 Sep 2018 – 4 pm
Tickets: 85 RMB / 40 RMB