This week on the EWF blog, we have a quick chat with #EWF22 artist Thabani Tshuma.
Hello Thabani! Can you introduce yourself to the EWF Blog?
I’m Thabani [waves]! I’m a writer, curator and performance poet. Mega-nerd, enthusiast of video games and lover of watching entire seasons of shows in single sittings.
This year you’re involved in three events for EWF (Program Launch, EWF x Thin Red Lines and Writing the Stars). You’ve also been involved with EWF in previous years. Can you talk a little about what EWF means to you?
EWF for me has always been a space of permission. I feel like the literary world is layered with various barriers to access and EWF throws them all out the door and allows us to simply be writers, whatever that may look like for you.
From the first EWF I attended in 2017, it’s always been a ‘come as you are’ environment that brings people together for the love of art and the creative process. I’ll always be ‘emerging’ in one way or another as a writer and I think that’s necessary to evolve and be willing to try new things. A big part of my practice is rooted in community and some of my strongest friendships and collaborations have happened through the festival.
Writing the Stars (in partnership with Scienceworks) is an incredible event as it’s a performance with full-dome Planetarium visuals. What’s your view on stars, space, the universe, etc? And can you give us a little teaser?
Oh I could rant endlessly about this! I’m a big sci-fi fan, so I love all things space and time related – exploring new worlds, the physics of time-travel, multiverse theory, all my jam!! I love the idea of interconnectedness, borrowing a little from quantum entanglement, the idea that at a fundamental level everything is linked and our choices simply create branches in the infinite. Very mycelial, which again is that idea of the micro mirroring the macro.
I can say we’ll boldly take you where no one has gone before 😉
We’re also so excited to have you and Georgia Kartas hosting EWF x Thin Red Lines: Left on Red. What can audiences expect on the night?
Expect the unexpected!! No spoilers! We say that because a lot of the time we’re surprised by what comes out. I think that’s the beauty of a lot of the events that we put on, they’re constantly pushing the bounds on what we imagine performance poetry can look like. It’s the fun of curating, we get to have a collaborative play with phenomenal artists and see what happens. Ten out of ten times we’re pleasantly surprised, come on down for surprise no. 11!
Finally, what’re you consuming/reading/writing/watching right now?
On theme of space, time and the universe, I recently tore through the new Star Trek series – Strange New Worlds. Instantly in love with their return to a more episode driven format as opposed to character driven like Discovery. I’ve always loved Star Trek as commentary on the systems and institutions currently upheld and what worlds could look like when we’re able to tear them down.
I’ve also been obsessed with Atlanta by Donald Glover and its themes of Afro-Surrealism, again how TV and story can be used to reflect on the absurdity of our realities. It’s been inspiring a lot of my current writing, really leaning into the absurd and surreal as a parallel to the things I experience.
Oh and a ridiculous amount of Elden Ring, I adore the Fromsoftware/Soulsborne formula, it normalises failure, which I think is so essential, each time you die in-game, you learn and come back a little better, making progress so much more rewarding, it feels earned as you “git gud” (internet advice to newbies struggling with the game is to simply get good).
Thabani Tshuma appears in EWF X Thin Red Lines: Left on Red and Writing the Stars at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival. Over on Instagram, EWF and Scienceworks are currently giving away a double pass to Writing the Stars. Head over to the post to learn more.