Word Travels’ STORY FEST is Australia’s largest performing writers festival! The Guide had the chance to speak with guest artist Singaporean poet Deborah Emmanuel who gave a fascinating insight into her creative process.
Deborah’s poetry career began after being imprisoned at just 19 years old, when police raided a wild nightclub party. Upon release, Deborah turned to writing to process her harrowing experience, chronicling her time in Changi Women’s Prison in her novel Rebel Rites. She is now a regular guest on TEDx panels, discussing cultural heritage, classism and womanhood, and has performed as both a slam poet and musician with her various bands at Festivals worldwide.
SAG: So have you arrived in Sydney yet for the festival? Have you been to our gorgeous city before?
DEBORAH: Yeah I’m in Newtown right now . Actually I have been before, I came through here 2 years ago on my Australian Tour.
SAG: I wanted to begin by fangirling a little bit. I haven’t seen your work live but I love your writing. Your poem ‘imperfect’ really resonated with me. Has your creativity always been about words?
DEBORAH: Thank you so much, Judith . What’s really funny is that it started with words when I was a kid, nobody taught me how to do it. It was kind of a secret when I was upset and I had stuff that upset me at home. So it was just a way to deal with my feelings. But it was the thing I did for myself … for a really long time without ever thinking of sharing or anything like that. Continue reading INTERVIEW WITH SINGAPOREAN PERFORMANCE POET DEBORAH EMMANUEL