Staff Spotlight: Pip Grylls

Pip Grylls, Digital Producer

Pip Grylls (she/they) is a sapling of cyborg energy growing uninvited in Narrm (Melbourne). As an emerging writer, she writes about fear, ambivalence, activism, cyberspace, and elsewise. Her writing has been published in Lot’s Wife, SCUM, and Otoliths. She also runs a monthly newsletter, the Writers’ Block Bulletin, which features helpful info for emerging writers. Pip is the Digital Producer for the Emerging Writers’ Festival 2020.

What attracted you to apply for your role at EWF? 

The first thing that made me eager to apply for EWF was my experience being a Creative Producer at the Digital Writers’ Festival in 2018. The creative and professional culture was really incredible – I felt supported every step of the way and even when I said goodbye at the end of the festival I felt that the DWF team had a sincere care and interest in the emerging writers they work with as interns each year. The second thing is my big interest in digital literature!

What do you love about digital spaces and projects?

I love that digital spaces afford a formal play that is genuinely new. Another aspect which excites me most is a political ideal behind digital literature, which now unfortunately seems like a bit of a bygone hope. There was so much excitement about the democratic, collaborative, polyphonic, accessible potential of digital literature in its nascent era (the late 90s and early 00s). Despite the now all too crisply clear hegemony of big corporate companies in the digital world, I think this is an ideal we need to hold on to. I like to read Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto partially as a call to arms, which I think is more important than ever: to group, unionise, and get active in networks of solidarity that demand democratic control over the development of technologies.

What are you working on outside of EWF?

I publish a monthly newsletter, the Writers’ Block Bulletin, which compiles info that might be helpful to emerging writers, like submissions deadlines and lit events. I am also an emerging creative writer, learning principally how to just finish a damn piece, and send it off for submission!

Is there a book you’ll never get sick of re-reading?

This is a tough one as I usually don’t re-read books! Honestly though the whole oeuvre of Clarice Lispector is something I think can always be dipped back into (and, I think, funnily enough would work fantastically well if transposed into hypertext).

What’s your favourite nostalgic technology moment? 

I love the whole cyber-futurist aesthetic of the early naughties (see the Y2K Aesthetic Institute), srsly bring it back! Though before my time, I also really adore the vibe of 80s DOS games. The only one I’ve properly played is an amazing piece of political commentary called A Mind Forever Voyaging. I love the idea of an actual game purely based in text; words are used like brick and mortar to literally construct streets and buildings, rather than place being just a setting. As I mentioned, I also love the anarcho/socialist democracy running through the vein-wires of the early cyberspace. Yes to computer lib!

Is there a particular podcast or playlist that’s getting you through this weird time?

As you can now tell, I’m really bad at picking just one thing! Top picks at the moment are the tunes of my maestro housemate, Ornella; the funky, chuggy tunes of my pal Eloyse; and this 3hr recording of a live set I saw last year in which my fave DJ played almost the full 17 minutes of one of my fave songs :’)

What are you most excited about for EWF2020?

I’m most excited about the fact that EWF20 will be going ahead full-force online! Although I’m definitely disappointed not to have the experience of working on and learning from a live EWF, it is so special and exciting that EWF20 will be delivering a full-scale arts festival to creatives all around Melbourne! I feel incredibly lucky to be part of bringing that to people.

I’m also v. excited, of course, to see what kinds of exploratory and interactive works are made for the new media portion of the festival (fka ‘digital stream’). Writers in the digital sphere are always creating new, idiosyncratic forms for their literature and I’m so excited to see what they come up with for EWF20! Stay tuned for our program in June to see the awesome projects we’ve got planned.

The 2020 Emerging Writers’ Festival will run 16–23 June.