As part of the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival, The Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature brought together writers, translators, bloggers and game developers from China and Australia who have used the internet as a core element of their practice. The directorial collaboration between Julien Leyre and Hugh Davies aimed to present literary and digital content to a more diverse audience than is currently be catered for.
“Melbourne is a fantastic literary city, with great diversity, and a lot of innovation. But most events and festivals I’ve attended have been very white, very anglo and extremely monolingual – which all organisers noted, and wanted to change. I guess the Marco Polo Festival is an attempt at bridging this gap, and trialling a model for a more multilingual and more cross-cultural form of audience engagement.” Julien writing at the Writers Victoria website.
Key events include:
Behind the Firewall, Monday 25 Monday, 1h30, @La Trobe University and the Confucius Institute. An exploration of the Chinese Internet- with Jiamin Zhao, Zhang Tianpan, Zhenming Si, presented by Hugh Davies
Writing online and Shaping Culture, Monday 25 Monday, 6h30, @Pozible Office, an evening of reflection about the role of digital reviewers and digital crowds in defining taste and shaping culture – with Jiamin Zhao, Zhang Tianpan, Mel Campbell, and Rick Chen chaired by Esther Anatolitis.
Writing the self, , Gaming Cultures, and Writing Peril -Hosted by Hugh Davies. Tuesday 26, 2h00-6h00, @Signal Space, an afternoon of workshop and discussion about Asian-Australian cultural experiences, from self-writing to video games. With Alice Pung, Harry Lee, Zhang Tianpan and Peril’s editors Nikki Lam and Lian Low
All-you-can-translate, Saturday 30, 2h00, @Multicultural Hub, a facilitated translation and editing event, preceded by a panel discussion on cross-cultural exchanges between Australia and China. With Ouyang Yu, May Hu, Qian Lu – hosted by Julien Leyre.
The Festival is a Centre for Creative Arts initiative and is presented in conjunction with the Wheeler Centre, the Beijing Bookworm, the Melbourne Writers Festival, The Marco Polo Project and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Support was also provided by the City of Melbourne, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Language Connection, Asialink, Electron Workshop and China Communications.