Next on our list of EWF24 introductions is Ruby-Rose Pivet Marsh! Ruby is EWF’s Artistic Director of five years now and we were so excited to sit down and chat!

Hi Ruby! We’re so lucky to have you as one half of our leadership as Artistic Director! We’ve obviously had a while to get to know you, but we’ve never introduced you officially – tell us about yourself, Ruby! 

Yeah! We realised in the office the other day that I hadn’t done one of these since maybe 2018, when I was a Creative Producer! Anyway, hello! I’m Ruby. I feel very lucky to have been at EWF, leading the artistic direction for the past four years. We are a development organisation, so usually these roles have a three-year turn over. I was offered an extension following the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, which I feel immense gratitude for.  

Outside of work, I am a reader, writer, and art maker who enjoys staying home, journaling, doing yoga in my loungeroom, going solo walks and swims, and making dinner with and for my loved ones (and sometimes reading their tarot afterwards!)

Do you have any creative outlets of your own??

In my life outside of the festival, I am involved in community arts projects (I co-founded and co-direct the Latinx* Arts collective Yo Soy), facilitate professional and creative development programs, and have just started a little writing club that I’m very excited about! My writing has taken a back seat the past few years, as I have poured most of my creative self into this job. I love it, but I also miss having the energy to work on my craft – especially as I am around so many writers and artists and it makes me want to dive into my own practices.  

I am in a phase now that feels kind of… pre-generative, if that makes sense? I am trying to go to as many workshops and events (not always achievable when you are immunocompromised, amongst other things) and watching and reading as much as I can. It’s the collecting stage and later, soon, I will be at the assemblage stage.  

*I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this word, that I will not get into here and now!

What are you most excited about for our first ever Spring festival this year?

The fact that it is not during winter. I love winter, but it’s quite hard to run a large-scale festival – 11 days with multiple events and venues on each day – for so many reasons. I’m also excited about the different themes and symbols Spring brings with it, and that are so ripe for sparking inspiration. Gothic Spring is around the corner (sort of)!

EWF is a lit fest, which means we’re obliged to ask what kind of literature catches your attention?

I’ve read three Melissa Broder books in as many months, of which I enjoyed her essay collection So Sad Today immensely. I sporadically update what I am reading on my aptly named IG account watisrubyreadin, which is probably a better representation of my tastes, as opposed to what I’ve read recently. 

Typically, I enjoy essay, magic realism, creative hybrid forms, and writing that doesn’t take itself entirely too seriously. I find that is what I am most interested in and gripped by and connected to. The best book I read last year was by far Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel (Fitzcarraldo Editions) and I’ve just found another book by her (After The Winter) in an opshop, so I’m excited to read that!  

The piece of writing that has caught my attention most recently is actually Literary Festivals in the Time of War Crimes by Alexandra Dane published by Kill Your Darlings. I read it on the day it came out and have been returning to it again and again since. The independence of creative programing is integral to our festival and others and the arts in general, and this essay does an important job of highlighting why and what is at risk when that is taken away.

Finally, what’s been cluttering your bedside table or filling up your watchlist lately? (What are you watching/reading/listening to?)

I really love this question. So much so, that we did an exhibition in 2022 called By My Bed, which was all about the bedsides of chronically ill and disabled writers and artists. 

Admittedly, I have three bedside tables:  

On the right side of my bed is all my skincare and like, catch all dishes for my many trinkets. On the left, I have one that houses all my medications, and on top of that is my journal and a pen, a vintage pillbox with my daily morning medication. Usually, one of them has a massive jar of water (yes, jar, regular glasses are awful). 

The third table is where I keep a sort of To Be Read pile of books, a Gameboy (it’s a DS, but I like the name Gameboy better. It’s my partner’s and I am borrowing it to play Pokémon and have been for three years). It also usually just ends up being a catch all – like right now there’s a collection of toiletries on it as well, including the large version of the Avene water spray (essential for SSRI takers, especially with the recent heat).  

As for the other things: my partner and I are slogging through the final season of Buffy (the worst season, obviously) and balancing that out with Task Master and Gravity Falls. Love Lies Bleeding and Saltburn have been recent favs to watch at the cinema, and there might be a bit of a hint about the program this year in them! 

I’ve been really lucky to see The Breeders, Blink 182, The Beths, and Illapu. Illapu is a hugely culturally significant band to Chilean communities both in and outside of Chile, and who remind us of our connection to and solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

The books I’m currently reading are Memorial (Bryan Washington) Body Friend (Katherine Brabon), and Minor Detail (Adania Shibli). I’ve been making playlists to accompany some of the things I’m reading, but I am listening to the new Empress Of album For Your Consideration as I write these answers, and it’s very pop of a certain era and I’m obsessed. I have been enjoying farewelling the summer and have been listening to Last Summer Whisper by Anri a lot to do so. 

Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh is leading our 2024 festival as Artistic Director. Stayed tuned for EWF24 running 5-15 September!