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Fresh takes: Winter ’23

Fresh takes: Winter ’23

After Dark in The Library Bar
Nights at the Library

Discover some of the best new works publishing this season, featuring readings from established and emerging writers in The Library Bar.

A glass of wine set in front of a pile of books on a shelf
2 / 2 events in this After Dark in The Library Bar series
20 June 2023 6pm to 9pm


General Admission: Free


The Library Bar
Enter via Hospital Road
Sydney NSW 2000


Fresh Takes is a seasonal showcase of some of the best new pieces of publishing, featuring established and emerging writers reading from their new works and reflecting on the writers and creators who have shaped them. The Winter line-up features Bebe Backhouse, André Dao, Cynthia Dearborn, Zeynab Gamieldien, Vidya Madabushi and Sam Twyford-Moore.

Please note: The Library Bar will not be open prior to 6pm, when the doors for this event will open.


Bebe Backhouse, a descendant of the Bardi Jawi people, who has called Narrm (Melbourne) home for 10 years. Beginning his creative practice as a classical pianist and composer, Bebe was awarded a West Australian Youth Award at 21 for his work as a music teacher to young Indigenous people. He later made a name for himself as a creative producer and director of youth theatre, festivals, and public art projects across Australia, including international dance and theatre projects in New Zealand, France and Belgium. While holding senior positions at leading public arts organisations in Melbourne, Bebe successfully fostered many artistic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives to showcase their work in mainstream platforms, allowing Traditional Culture to thrive in the public realm. A leader in designing and delivering high-profile programs and strategic projects for Australia’s diverse communities, Bebe is a frequent commentator on the arts and culture community. Holding cultural integrity at the forefront, he has in-depth experience in stakeholder management and organisational leadership, with a passion for advocacy, advancement, and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. more than these bones is Bebe’s debut solo publication.

André Dao, a Melbourne-based writer, editor and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. His writing has appeared in MeanjinSydney Review of BooksGriffith Review, the MonthlyThe Lifted BrowCordite, the Saturday PaperNew PhilosopherArena MagazineAsia Literary Review and elsewhere. His residencies and fellowships include an AsiaLink Arts Residency in Hanoi, an Emerging Writers Festival-Ubud Writers Festival Island to Island residency across Indonesia, and a Wheeler Centre Hotdesk Fellowship. In 2015 he was selected as one of Melbourne Writers Festival’s 30 Best Writers under 30. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, the award-winning oral history project documenting the stories of the adults and children who have been detained by the Australian government after seeking asylum in Australia. His work for Behind the Wire includes a Quill award winning article for the Saturday Paper and the Walkley Award-winning podcast, The Messenger. He co-edited Behind the Wire’s collection of literary oral histories They Cannot Take the Sky. He was previously the editor-in-chief of Right Now, an online human rights magazine. In recognition of that work he was a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2011 Young People’s Human Rights Medal. He is also a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective, whose work has been exhibited in the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne and the City Gallery, Wellington.

Cynthia Dearborn, who grew up in the US, Scotland, Germany and Italy, eventually settling in Seattle, where she worked as a barista before gaining a Master’s in TESOL. After migrating solo to Australia, she earned a PhD in applied linguistics, and taught at the University of Technology Sydney and then at The University of Sydney, where she currently holds an Honorary position. As Cynthia D Nelson, she is the author of numerous academic publications. Her play, Queer as a Second Language, has been performed to acclaim in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US. Her poem sequence ‘The Darmstadt Year’ was shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize. Her debut memoir is The Year My Family Unravelled.

Zeynab Gamieldien, the inaugural winner of the 2022 Westwords–Ultimo Prize. Her work has been shortlisted for the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction and featured in publications such as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Daily Life section and the Australian Muslim TimesThe Scope of Permissibility is her first novel.

Vidya Madabushi, an Indian writer living in Sydney. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Sydney, and her first novel, Bystanders, was published in India in 2015. Bystanders was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize, and a previous version was longlisted for the Australian Vogel Award. In 2018, Vidya received the Writing NSW Grant for Fiction for the creation of this novel. The Days Toppled Over is her Australian debut.

Sam Twyford-Moore, a writer and cultural critic. His first book, The Rapids: Ways of Looking at Mania, was published by NewSouth Publishing and the University of Toronto Press in North America. He was formerly Festival Director and CEO of the Emerging Writers’ Festival. As a writer he has contributed to a wide range of publications, including the MonthlySenses of Cinema, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Sydney Morning Herald, and many others. His new book is Cast Mates: Australian Actors in Hollywood and at Home.

This initiative is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late Program.


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