Diem Nguyen is a YA and romance reader, sometimes book podcaster (Bookish Friends), and Gender Studies honours student. She has worked at the Centre for Youth Literature.
Why did you apply to be a Creative Producer with EWF and how are you finding it so far?
My fairy godmother Adele Walsh (youth literature expert and advocate/podcaster/all-round awesome person) slid into my DMs telling me about this amazing opportunity. When I was at the Centre for Youth Literature, I worked on the 2017 Reading Matters conference which was an amazing experience. A chance to be a part of an esteemed literary festival was impossible to pass up. I’m really enjoying flexing my programming brain and hopefully people will like the events that I’ve been planning!
Aside from being a Creative Producer, what else do you do and what are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my honours thesis at the University of Melbourne focusing on sexual violence narratives in Young Adult literature. I want to look at rape culture and how that impacts adolescent girls’ performances of their sexuality and femininity.
What are you currently reading and what is your favourite book of all time?
I am currently reading a lot of journal articles and academic texts! However, the last book I finished and absolutely loved was Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas. Incredibly romantic and wholesome and beautiful. My favourite book of all time is Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty. My copy is so yellowed and tattered – I have lost count how many times I’ve read it!
What kind of writers and writing are you most drawn to and why?
I feel like I am still in my ‘coming of age’ stage so I am drawn to stories about women who are complicated, messy, flawed, terrible, confused but trying their best. One of my favourite authors, Sarra Manning, described these as stories about ‘women on the verge’. I find them quite comforting, it’s like the literary equivalent of that cool slightly older woman who you admire squeezing your shoulder and saying ‘babes, you’re going to be okay’.
What would the title of your memoir be?
Crying in Public Places: A Memoir by Diem Nguyen
What do you hope to do after the Creative Producer Internship?
Right now my priority is finishing my honours. Let’s see where that takes me!
The 2019 Emerging Writers’ Festival will run 19–29 June. Find out about Diem’s events after the program launches on 15 May.
Interview by fellow Creative Producer Lauren Sanders.