Staff Spotlight: Catherine Huang

Our newest addition to the EWF team tackles the almighty task of interviewing herself for the next edition of the Staff Spotlight. She talks her favourite #EWF21 moments, the culture she’s consuming and more.

Hello Catherine.

Hi there.

Are we doing this?

… We certainly are. Nothing like lockdown number five to spur on a self-dialogue for the masses to witness.

Alright then. Let’s dive in. Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Catherine (she/her), and I am ever so lucky to call myself the Marketing and Publicity Coordinator at EWF. I also dabble in web design and development (Peer Process), as well as working for Melbourne fashion label Verner. I’m a double Virgo (Sun and Rising, big yikes), and I love being on the road and chasing sunsets. I actually got the (missed) call for my interview at EWF when I was out of reception, camping at Depot Beach on the New South Wales coast.

What did you enjoy about #EWF21?

The easier question would be what did I not enjoy, because I had such an incredible time during #EWF21. Even though we weren’t able to come together in person, I found the community and connection of the festival so remarkable and heart-warming.

The programming team really shone this year and I feel quite lucky to have been able to pop my little digital head into almost every single event. But I especially adored sitting back and soaking in the performances of Elemental, and Late Night Literature: Tending to Joy at the End of the World, and I keep returning to the works produced from our collective project Dis-Belonging Bodies. I learnt a lot from all the Lunchtime Literature events, and Maria Tumarkin’s keynote as part of the Creative Nonfiction Masterclass is still echoing through my mind.

How are you coping with lockdown?

I mean first of all, am I really coping? I miss being in The Wheeler Centre with my beautiful, funny, caring colleagues so very much. But yes, things I am doing ‘to cope’… you mean besides tweeting into the void at all hours of the day?

Okay I’ll prompt you. What are you watching?

Thank you, me. Well! I watched Season One of Secret Life of Us in lockdown one (remember her?) last year, and picked it up again recently. I’m about to launch into the final season, so that’s a triumph at least. Earlier this year I painstakingly made my way through all six seasons of Dawson’s Creek – for what? For what?!

Seriously, why did you persist with that silly little show? Mind boggling. What about books? Are you reading?

You and I both know I’m not reading enough. But it’s good to at least have a couple of books on the bedside table on the off chance I might pick something up and lazily flick through. Sitting next to me I’ve got Rachel Cusk, Jamie Marina Lau and Alain de Botton waiting to be read.

My favourite book of 2019 was Severance by Ling Ma, and I quote (myself, because there’s not enough self-referencing going on here)

‘How did a single book make me feel so many things? Laughter, crying, anguish, frustration, audible gasps. I had so much fun reading this book’

I toyed with re-reading it for all of 2020 but thought it was too dark to read a book about a pandemic during a pandemic. Well fools, it’s 2021 and the pandemic’s not going anywhere!!! So here I am, rinsing Severance once more. Still great.

And what are you listening to?

I still listen to CDs when I drive, and my prized possessions are my Ministry of Sound: The Chillout Sessions 2 and 3 compilations. Some early 00’s DJ has inadvertently soundtracked my doom and gloom era with silky smooth tunes.

And now that the dust has settled, what’s happening next in the (virtual) EWF offices?

Well, we just closed entries for the Richell Prize – over 800 submissions! Sensational – I can’t wait to see who makes the longlist.

Our eNews is still going out regularly, so be sure to subscribe if you aren’t already. I’ve been compiling all the best events, opportunities and articles to read so we can still hang out virtually now that #EWF21 is over.

And if I can transport you back to The Before Times (pre-#EWF21 I mean, which is, understandably, a hundred lifetimes ago), we produced two seasons of Vignettes, our EWF podcast (revisit Season One and Season Two). We’ve got Season Three on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to the time when we are able to share that with everyone. Be sure to keep an eye out!

I can’t wait.

I know – because you’re me. Shall we wrap this up?

I think so. Thank you Catherine.

The pleasure was all mine.