First Fiji Literary Festival

This is an epic moment for Fiji. Last night I was alerted by my good friend, Satendra Nandan, that the First Fiji Literary Festival will take place from October 2 – 7, at the Namaka Campus, Fiji National University. Satendra is Chair of the Festival, and Foundation Professor and Dean for the School of Humanities & Arts University of Fiji. The festival heralds a new age, detailing the word as a portal of compassion, creation and as world literature proclaims itself to be in the greatest of light – a contribution to humanity.

I recently saw Woody Allen’s new film ‘Midnight in Paris’ with renowned NZ poet Kate Camp, here in Berlin. The film circumnavigated the concept of a golden time, an era of profound creativity and boundless possibility. Satendra’s good news pinned me to my shadow, pacific artists are within such a time, creating new ways for our truths to be discovered and celebrated. There is such momentum in the passion of this moment, that we can lift the wings of our creatives for worlds to come – the world is an arrangement in the mind of an artist.

Often in Berlin, people ask me where I come from, only outside of your belonging can you truly aspire to fix (or un-fix) yourself. People speak to me in French and sometimes Japanese, they ask me where my village is in Mexico, and what the sun is like in Spain. My response, surprisingly, always begins with a long pause.

Within the pause, I have realised that I only know a handful of street names in Auckland, the beaches I swum as a girl, my loathing of the hot rain, and the always affinity with bodies like mine on corners – usually laughing at nothing in particular, throwing back their wild black manes, laughing the world away (as though we have somehow beheld everything necessary).

Within the pause, I have realised that I want to say names of people, instead of where I sleep. I want to say I come from a long line of women that feared only love. The land held onto them, the stars designed light around the form of their hips. I want to say I am the manifestation of ancient thoughts, the reason for ages of suffering, as the suffering of women is made light in the faces of their children.

Satendra is reading this passage, my kind thoughts are with you and the writers of Fiji, good friend. Whatever shape life makes of me, on this day my heart overflowed for you and your people.


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