OzAsia Festival favourite IN OTHER WORDS returns for 2023

OzAsia-Durkhanai-Ayubi-photo-by-Emmaline-ZanelliOzAsia Festival’s much-loved, writing and ideas program, In Other Words has revealed its exciting program for 2023, which runs from Friday 3 November to Sunday 5 November at Adelaide Festival Centre.

In Other Words is an inspiring three-day extravaganza full of big ideas and literary delights which coincides with the closing weekend of OzAsia Festival.

Curated by writer, comedian and presenter of ABC’s Chopsticks or Fork, Jennifer Wong, with 2023 guest curators Durkhanai Ayubi (author and restaurateur) and Sami Shah (author, comedian and broadcaster), In Other Words promises lively discussions and thought-provoking panels with celebrated authors and media personalities.

In an In Other Words exclusive, foodies will savour in the special event, Sarah Tiong and Poh Ling Yeow in Conversation with Benjamin Law. Celebrating their Malaysian heritage, MasterChef favourites Sarah Tiong (Modern Asian) and Poh Ling Yeow (What I Cook When Nobody’s Watching) join Benjamin Law (broadcaster, writer and journalist) for a spicy chat about food, cooking and cultural connections.

This year’s program will feature more than 60 Asian writers and thinkers from Asia and Australia and will debut books from 22 writers and feature 28 free events. Visiting authors include award winners Shankari Chandran (2023 Miles Franklin winner for Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens) Andre Dao (2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Anam) and Simone Amelia Jordan (2021 Richell Prize for Tell Her She’s Dreamin’).

Eight writers and thinkers come to In Other Words from overseas in 2023 including Myeongseok Kang author of The New York Times best-selling Behind the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS.

This year marks Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th anniversary, and it is also the 50th anniversary of the sister-city relationship of Adelaide and Penang. To mark the occasion In Other Words exchanges writers with Penang’s George Town Literary Festival and welcomes Malaysian writers, Shih-Li Kow, Wan Phing Lim and Saras Manickam, to Adelaide.

The 50th anniversary celebrations continue with Annette Shun Wah’s interview on The First 50 podcast. Annette sits down with host Libby O’Donovan to talk all things OzAsia Festival and takes a look back at her fascinating career. The episode is out now and available to listen to at www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au and on all major streaming platforms.

“I’m so excited for the audience at this year’s In Other Words, who will soon meet more than 60 writers from Australia and around the world for a weekend of riveting conversations about everything from love and politics, to identity and tiger parenting,” said In Other Words curator, Jennifer Wong. “I hope you’ll join us for big conversations about big ideas, which proudly place Asian Australian perspectives at the centre.”

In Other Words free program highlights for 2023 include:
The electrifying Opening Night Gala hosted by Jennifer Wong. This year, the theme is A Moment of Outspokenness. Eight local and international writers will share stories about moments they spoke up, and what happened next… Featuring Durkhanai Ayubi (Parwana Stories from an Afghan Kitchen) Sami Shah (comedian and radio presenter), Shelley Parker-Chan (author), Dias Novita Wuri (author), Wang Phing Lim (author) and many more. Register your interest for this free event at www.ozasiafestival.com.au

Fans of the band BTS (known as the BTS Army) and K-pop fans will love Beyond the Story, the first official book published in celebration of BTS’s 10th anniversary. Join author Myeongseok Kang live from Seoul to answer all your questions about the world’s biggest K-pop band, BTS.

Durkhanai Ayubi is joined by Sukhmani Khorana and Kersherka Sivakumaran from South Asians for Voice, in the compelling conversation, The Voice and South Asian Activism. Join this distinguished panel of thought leaders as they look at Australia’s referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and hear how South Asians for Voice, a grassroots campaign to inform and empower diaspora communities in their vote, was created and its learnings.

Miles Franklin winner Shankari Chandran joins Karina Robles Bahrin (The Accidental Malay) with host Sami Shah as they deep dive into the themes of race and identity in writing with On Fiction and Race.

There are also sessions on offer for younger audiences – those aged 9 to 13 are invited to have fun with Oliver Phommavanh when he presents Thai-riffic Jokes & Stories. Expect lots of laughs when Oliver guides the audience on how to write jokes and wacky storylines.

Based on his best-selling books, Thai-Riffic 1, Con-nerd and What About Theo? Children aged 3 to 7 and their parents too will delight in two Storytime sessions with Freda Chiu’s A Trip to the Hospital and Dinalie Dabarera’s Quiet Time with My Seeya and young adults will love the session Young Adult Characters Who Will Steal Your Heart.

In Other Words has become THE meeting place for great Asian and Asian Australian minds, engaging in conversations that are rarely aired anywhere else,” said OzAsia Festival Artistic Director, Annette Shun Wah. “From the profoundly moving to the outrageously funny, this program reaps the riches of a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.”

On Friday 3 November, the Asian Australian Studies Research Network brings the eighth Asian Australian Identities Conference to In Other Words. In partnership with the University of Adelaide, the conference serves as an opportunity to reflect on the growth and development of Asian Australian identities/studies, evaluate the present standing, and envision its future trajectory.

Popular ABC Radio National show Stop Everything will take over Adelaide Festival Centre’s Banquet Room with a live broadcast. Catch up on the biggest and latest pop culture news of the week with hosts Benjamin Law and Beverley Wang as they chat to OzAsia Festival and In Other Words artists on Saturday 4 November.

In Other Words ends with the much loved and often hilarious Closing Night Debate hosted by Jennifer Wong on Sunday 5 November. This year’s topic is That Australia Needs More Tiger Parents. The audience’s applause decides the winner – will it be team for or against? Featuring Jason Chong (comedian and broadcaster), Shirley Le (writer and creative producer), Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa (writer and performer) and many more. Register your interest for this free event at www.ozasiafestival.com.au

In Other Words, the literary festival within OzAsia Festival, is an important and timely gathering of over sixty Asian and Asian Australian writers,” said The Honourable Andrea Michaels MP, Minister for Arts.

“Together they engage with ideas and share thinking in lively discussion and hilarious reflection. It is a thought provoking three days of moving, funny and poignant perspectives,” said the Minister.

“As a national festival platform for Asian Australian writers, this year’s In Other Words program looks to deliver a wonderful selection of events that we are sure will delight and inspire audiences,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director, Douglas Gautier AM.

With topics covering pop culture, travel, politics, romance, memoir, poetry, food, humour, LGBTQIA+, mental health, music, fantasy, fiction plus so much more, In Other Words promises something for everyone to enjoy and it all takes place under the roof of Adelaide Festival Centre. In Other Words runs 3 – 5 November 2023. For more information, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Durkhanai Ayubi – photo by Emmaline Zanelli