Renee Liang, a second-generation Chinese Kiwi, is a poet, playwright and paediatrician. Most recently, Liang was commissioned to write libretto for an opera based on her play, The Bone Feeder, with Gareth Farr composing, which will be premiered by Auckland Arts Festival and NZ Opera in March 2017.
Liang has written in many genres including short and long fiction, poetry, theatre, non fiction, digital storytelling, blogging and arts journalism, and is currently developing a digital interactive, Golden Threads, for Auckland Museum’s new exhibition on the history of Chinese in New Zealand. It’s an immersive journey into the life of a Chinese immigrant circa 1880s.
This makes Liang the perfect fit to organises community arts events such as New Kiwi Women Write Their Stories, a writing workshop series for migrant women in association with Auckland Council, which has successfully run for four years. All participants have the opportunity of getting work published at the end of the programme. New Beginnings, an anthology of work by these writers, has now been published in five editions and there have been several reprintings. Workshops will be led by established and award-winning New Zealand women writers.
This course caters to everyone from beginners to more experienced writers in a variety of styles, from poetry, to prose to non fiction writing. The only requirements for participation are that you’re a woman aged 15 or more, who was not born in New Zealand. Liang says, “A number of past students have formed writing groups, or enrolled in more formal tertiary studies, or gone on to win competitions, or be published.” She believes these workshops are great a way of bringing people together in a creative, encouraging environment.
Upcoming workshops will take place in New Lynn in March, with a public book launch in May. Cost is free, but bookings are essential, so visit Arts Whau for more information and to register.