CULT FRICTION: Fireflies’ Justin Wolfers

Justin Wolfers will at our Late night Lit: Cult Friction event on Wednesday 15 June at 9pm at 1000 Pound Bend, along with Bobuck Sayed, Cinnamon Templeton, Ellena Savage, Paola Balla and Jennifer Down. The evening is hosted by some of our favourite Melbourne-based journals: Fireflies, The Lifted Brow and Archer.

Tell us a bit about yourself! You’re a writer, editor as well as working in publishing. How do you juggle the three?
I’m in the lucky position of writing as my job-job at the moment because I’m working on a PhD in creative writing at Western Sydney, and I try to keep my other writing projects in keeping with that research to keep it manageable. Aside from that, I work one day a week in publishing to try and remember that the world exists, and occasionally use the train to the mountains as my office to get headspace and do reading at the same time. I’ve quieted down on editing projects for the moment but my heart still beats for it, will hopefully do some more soon.

You’ve written for a bunch of publications, but at EWF you’re representing Fireflies zine, a relatively new publication focusing on film. What drew you to Fireflies?
I first found out about Fireflies when I met Annabel Brady-Brown (the co-editor) at National Young Writers’ Festival a couple of years ago, where she was repping the flashy first issue of a film mag and a zine about Kanye West. I ended up pitching a piece for their second issue, a sort of screenplay essay about an Iranian film I loved called Close-Up – suffice to say there is nowhere else you can publish weird, performative creative-critical film writing, and Fireflies is extra special because of their team’s incredible commitment to their craft, they go absolutely all in with their love for the project. Best editorial experience I’ve had, a sexy book object, and they’ve upped their game even more for this new third issue.

This year at EWF you’re participating in Cult Friction, a late night lit event alongside writers from a bunch of different lit mags. Tell us a bit about the night!
There’ll be performances and readings from the of three sharpest lit-mags around, all centring on cult writing, be it about music, film or other left-of-centre obsessions. There’ll be writers from The Lifted Brow, who I love, have written for, and am always excited to see in action because they always put on a show (featuring Jennifer Down, who I am especially exciting to see because a trusted friend said she cried the entire way through her debut novel Our Magic Hour); and writers from Archer, who have been publishing awesome, searing and really engaging writing on sexuality and gender. And obviously Fireflies, whose focus is writing and art about film, who are going down the multimedia route with their approach to the evening.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what your performance will involve?
So for Fireflies, Ellena Savage will be reading her fabulous and abject-sexy essay called ‘Armpit Pussy’ which focuses on aspects of desire in a couple of films of the French film-maker Claire Denis, who is a cult icon in her own right, and is featured in the new Fireflies issue. I’ll be doing a kind of multimedia performance, involving video collage and music to create a mood piece for a story I wrote for the same issue – a semi-fictional meditation on a couple of the actors Denis uses in her films, Grégoire Colin and Alex Descas. It’ll be really fun to reverse-adapt the work: from film into writing and now back into a filmy performance with cutups from the original movies. Cult friction!

Are you looking forward to anything else at EWF?
I’m only down for the first week so I’m kind of crushed I’m going to miss Amazing Babes (20 June), which was incredible 2 years ago at NYWF and which I couldn’t go to last year at EWF because my event was at the same time! It’s a powerful, fun, ecstatic night. But they’ve got a line-up of awesomes including personal faves Emma Marie Jones, Izzy Roberts-Orr, Alison Whittaker among others – will be rad.

Justin Wolfers is a Sydney-based writer, editor and researcher. He has written for The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, Fireflies, Seizure, The Australian, Cordite, and the UTS Writers’ Anthology. He has been editor of Seizure Magazine’s experimental writing project AltTxt, is a co-host of FBi Radio’s monthly bookclub, and is a doctoral candidate in creative writing at Western Sydney University.