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with Rebecca F. Kuang, moderated by Nakkiah Lui

10 March 2024

In theatre and livestreamed

On the heels of her satirical sensation Yellowface crushing the bestseller lists, join Rebecca F. Kuang as she takes on the complexities of diversity, racism and cultural appropriation today – both through her own eyes and those of her latest protagonist Juniper Hayward.

I hate the feeling of being read just because somebody’s trying to tick off a diversity check box.

Rebecca F. Kuang

The satire cultural appropriation had to have

The novel Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang is a worldwide “zeitgeist” publishing sensation. When June Hayward's friend, the bestselling author Athena Liu, dies in a freak accident, June acts quickly - and steals Athena's manuscript about Chinese labourers. She doesn't exactly pretend to be Asian-American but she certainly doesn't correct anyone who mistakes her background, either. Brimming with dark humour and vindictive characters with dubious morals (so just like real life), Kuang’s smart and sardonic commentary has everyone asking questions. Who gets to profit off our hunger for cultural diversity? Do people with marginalised identities have to commodify family and personal trauma to make it big? 

Join this conversation with Rebecca F. Kuang and Nakkiah Lui to explore a world capitalising on race and the complexities behind who gets to tell what stories.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

Rebecca F. Kuang (she/her)

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, and Yellowface. Her work has won the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, and British Book Awards. A Marshall Scholar, she has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, where she studies diaspora, contemporary Sinophone literature, and Asian American literature.

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Nakkiah Lui (she/her) Moderator

Nakkiah Lui is a writer, actor, director, and Gamillaroi, Torres Strait Islander woman. She began her playwriting career at Sydney Theatre Company under the artistic directorship of Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett, since then she has worked with every major theatre company in Australia. In 2012, Nakkiah was the inaugural recipient of both The Dreaming Award from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council and the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award. In 2018, Nakkiah was also the recipient of the Patrick White Playwrights Fellowship at STC.

Nakkiah was actor in and writer and producer of the ground-breaking series, Black Comedy, which ran for four seasons from 2014-2019. From then she went on to create/write/star in the award-winning series, Kiki & Kitty, which aired on ABC in 2017. Most recently, Nakkiah is the co-creator/showrunner/star of the upcoming series, Preppers, as well as contributing to a number of Australian drama and comedy series.

Nakkiah is a young leader in the Australian Aboriginal community. She is a regular guest on ABC’s Q&A, The Drum, and Channel Ten’s The Project, as well as contributing to The Guardian, New York Times, and a variety of other news outlets. Nakkiah has been a columnist for Australian Women’s Weekly and is the co-host and co-creator of the award-winning podcast series, Pretty for an Aboriginal and Debutante with Miranda Tapsell. In 2020, Nakkiah teamed with Australia’s largest independent book publisher, Allen and Unwin, to launch her own imprint, JOAN.

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