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UPLIT // Word Play 2017 // Writing from Cultural Experience

September 6, 2017 - September 8, 2017

GRADES 7 – 10

Generate story ideas with Wai Chim as she shares how her background has underpinned her writing and leads students to engage with their own.

Inspired by Wai’s own father’s journey, her book Freedom Swimmer (Allen & Unwin) is an incredible tale about two boys who swim from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom from poverty and oppression.




  • Wednesday 6 September
  • Code: 3001
  • 10am – 11am
  • Auditorium 2, State Library


  • Wednesday 6 September
  • Code: 5003
  • 1pm – 2pm
  • The Edge


  • Thursday 7 September
  • Code: 5004
  • 10am – 11am
  • The Edge


  • Thursday 7 September
  • Code: 3006
  • 1pm – 2pm
  • Auditorium 2, State Library


  • Friday 8 September
  • Code: 4008
  • 11.30am – 12.30pm
  • Queensland Terrace, State Library




Wai Chim

Wai Chim is a first generation Chinese-American from New York City. She grew up speaking Cantonese at home and absorbing Western culture through books, TV and school. She spent some time living in Japan before making Sydney, Australia her permanent home. Her previous books include the Chook Chook series for middle-grade readers, and Shaozhen set in the drought stricken province of Henan in 2014. Wai also wrote Freedom Swimmer, a YA novel inspired by her father’s desperate swim to Hong Kong to escape Mao’s China in the 1970s.  In addition to writing, Wai works in digital marketing and website production and enjoys fine dining, pretending to do yoga and ogling puppies.



Word Play 2017

Welcome to Word Play 2017!

Word Play is UPLIT’s Education Program where young readers, illustrators and storytellers can enter other worlds built on the year’s best literature and stories.

Word Play 2017 is a collision of imagination, celebration and exploration as students and teachers from across Queensland dive into literary wonderlands.

Within the Word Play program lies adventures with Wendy Orr and Mark Smith; the past re-examined with Jackie French and Wai Chim; artistic explorations with Peter Carnavas and Leigh Hobbs; discussions about diversity with Randa Abdel-Fattah and James Moloney; and literary love-ins with Anna Fienberg and Steven Herrick.

And this year, UPLIT are introducing a new dimension to Word Play especially for teachers with their Professional Development sessions, education resources and much more!

Browse the full program now



Brisbane Writers Festival is a partner of State Library of Queensland.


September 6, 2017
September 8, 2017
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Brisbane Writers Festival
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