Creative producer Nicole McKenzie

Meet Nicole! She’s a goddamn firecracker and we’re so pleased to have her on on our team as a creative producer in 2017.

Nicole McKenzie.

Tell us a bit about Nicole McKenzie!  What do you do outside EWF?  And what’s the big ambition?
I’ve just graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Creative Writing and Gender Studies and I now feel like a baby giraffe finding her feet in the world of jobs and opportunities. Outside of EWF I do a lot! I just finished performing my second season of a show I created – Being a Good Person is Bloody Hard Work – as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. I also write creative non-fiction pieces and performance poetry, usher at The Wheeler Centre, volunteer for Writers Victoria, work as a research / personal assistant, and make coffee at a café. Oh, and I’m getting back into sewing! And by getting back into I mean I have placed my sewing machine on my desk and now have to move it every morning to write.

When I was five I wanted to be a geologist. At age 10 I told Margaret Clark I wanted to be a writer and an actress. The ‘big ambition’ isn’t as clear cut as it once was but I’m okay with that. I want to lead a creative life. I want to write a book and continue to travel the world. Something might draw me back in front of the camera, but I’m relieved to say that I’m not in the hurry that I once was.

What attracted you to the creative producer role at EWF?
Last year I was an associate producer intern for Small Press Network’s Independent Publishing Conference and I organised the conference’s program launch. I absolutely loved programming and the thrill of running a conference / festival. I love discovering new writers and as an emerging writer myself I see the immense value of the EWF. I thought the role of creative producer at EWF would suit my passions and be the perfect follow on from my last internship (and this is proving to be true).

Have you been to any standout literary events lately?  Discovered any great artists you’re excited about?
I have been getting more involved in the spoken word scene in Melbourne and I especially love Slamalamadingdong – a monthly poetry slam with incredible talent, strong competition, and a warm audience. I’ve made it a goal of mine to compete myself this year!

Some of my latest ‘discoveries’ are programmed so I’ll have to keep my mouth shut. But I am looking forward to discovering some new artists at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I think a lot of the time comedy performers get framed as comedians and people forget about the work that goes into writing their acts. When attending the festival, I’ll be on the lookout for not only great performers but also great writers.

For one blessed day, the only thing you have to do is read.  What do you reach for?
What a dream! I’d probably try to get through some of my to read / started to read pile which currently includes some travel writing collections, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi. I’ve also been craving Carver lately so I would love to squeeze a couple of his short stories in too. Has my day turned into a week already? If it has I’d love to add this year’s Stella prize nominations; I want to read them all!

In ten words or less, why are arts festivals important?
To connect artists with each other and the wider community.

What do we need to know about the EWF event/s you’re working on?
One is very heavy and the other is very light. One is very early and the other is reasonably late. One is about trauma and the other is about literature knowledge. One will have attendees holding warm drinks over breakfast and the other will have attendees holding adult drinks over laughs. One last thing – I hope you all attend both.