Gaele Sobott is currently completing a collection of short stories on her experience of disability and life in Lakemba. She will be performing with a group of other writers at the NSW Writers’ Centre on 8 November as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival Roadshow. We spoke to her about the development of this series of performances.
NoRMAL is part of a series of performances you are doing featuring readings from writers with disability. Can you tell me a little bit about how these events came about?
We began workshopping the concept and some of the stories at the Urban Theatre SPACE Residency early this year. Our main focus was to write about our individual experiences of disability and to consider audience access to our texts as part of the creative process. We were chosen to perform at Arts Activated at Chatswood Concourse on 29th October. This is the leading arts and disability conference in Australia and it’s an honour to perform to our peers in the sector. It’s also very important to perform on mainstream writing platforms. We approached Sam Twyford-Moore who has been very supportive of Write-ability initiatives in Victoria and who, along with Jane McCredie from NSWWC, spoke at the Scribbler Literature Forum in Sydney in June. NoRMAL is on the EWF Roadshow program, which is very exciting.
The third and final performance is at the Lakemba Senior Citizen’s Centre on the 2nd December. I live in Lakemba and am grateful to have the opportunity to perform in our community. The City of Canterbury Council has been very helpful in providing the venue, financial, administrative and promotional support.
Who are the writers who will be reading and what are some the themes that will be explored?
NoRMAL features Georgia Cranko, Gayle Kennedy, Gaele Sobott and Amanda Yeo. In writing about experiences of disability, we explore topics including disconnection, preconceptions and medicalisation. But disability is only one of many aspects of our identity. Our writing is obviously not restricted to the experience of disability.
Your writing focuses on your experience of disability and life in Lakemba. Did you draw from the experiences of people around you as well, or has it been mainly a personal journey for you?
NoRMAL is writing that is largely concerned with personal journey. In relation to the collection of short stories I am currently working on, I find it difficult to separate the writing into personal journey as opposed to writing about people around me. Generally, the people around me are part of my personal journey. I weave the people around me and my personal journey into fiction.