Follow UNSW creative writing students as they explore this week's free program, and occasionally indulge in a paid session, at the Sydney Writers' Festival.
SUNDAY, MAY 28
What it takes to unlock wisdom of the ages
The wisdom of the ages reveals not one but many paths to spiritualism, inner peace, relationship with Country and Culture and being in community. On Sunday at Carriageworks, Worimi storyteller Paul Callaghan and author and journalist Brigid Delaney joined writer Ailsa Piper to discuss the application of some of that wisdom of the ages to modern living.
Delaney identifies as a Stoic and Callaghan is a champion of Aboriginal culture and passionate about creating a place of unity for all Australians. Piper opened the session by asking both guests to outline how they came to their respective philosophical outlooks on life.
Delaney (Reasons Not to Worry)spoke candidly about her first encounters with stoicism. She “listened to Tim Ferris' podcast” and attempted living as a Stoic for a week for a writing assignment and thought: “it wasn't for me”. When she published her article, the Stoic community responded. Delaney admitted that “Stoics don't really get angry” but she did receive some “perturbed feedback claiming that she had completely missed the point”. She tried Stoic Week again a year later — this time with friends — and something clicked. Coupled with further research for her book and the pandemic, experience allowed Delaney to see Stoicism in a new light: “as a tool, or medicine, to be applied to problems out of my control”.
Callaghan (TheDreaming Path) was equally honest about his relationship to Country. He grew up on the mission, his mother was a Blak woman and his father a white man. Growing up, particularly as a teenager, he found people treated him as if he were “too white to be black and too black to be white”. As is the case for many people at that age, his identity relied on how others saw him. It wasn't until Callaghan was in his thirties that he realised “the need to drop the mask and be vulnerable”. By that point he had lived and suffered with agoraphobia, anxiety, and depression. At 35, his doctors told him, he “had a lifelong condition and would never heal”.
Through a painful and profound experience, Callaghan realised what was missing from his life was Culture. He bared his heart to the audience when he said, “our traditional ways were taken from us … and I found I had no knowledge of how to connect to Country, with my Culture”. Then came the first steps to change, Callaghan sought advice from Aboriginal Elders and his community. As he built his relationship to Country, what followed was a realisation: “as I healed, I wanted to be the old me, but something else happened. I became a better me”. Callaghan owned his “own story” and became his “real self”.
For Callaghan, when we turn to Culture, we find peace and wellbeing through a connection to nature, to Country. He shared a creation story, one of multiple “because why does there have to be only one answer”. Through storytelling, he challenged the audience to realise “all people in Australia today came from the Mother [Earth]” and, therefore, “through Country, we are all family”. He further challenged the audience to accept “you never need to feel lonely once you know Country is your family and is always around you”.
Delaney offered complementary insight into the overlapping values of Stoicism and Callaghan’s description of “following your Dreaming path”, Aboriginal Culture, and a unified Australian family. Delaney described the importance of nature: “Stoics expand nature to the environment. Everything has a place and purpose, something that exists but we are challenged to find”. She also added, “our nature is regional and local, not global”. As Delaney described it, Stoicism centres on our connection to nature within and nature without, at a local level, to the country we live on and in relation to.
What both Callaghan and Delaney described is a path to realising our freedom, “to live in the moment” and to “disconnect from the march of time”.
The session ended with a final challenge from both guests. Delaney offered the Stoic freedom from time and death in realising “the beginning and ending are known … the mysterious journey is life”. Callaghan asked the people in the audience to build a relationship with Mother Earth, "and to build a relationship with yourself”. He added: “the Mother will provide everything you need in life. Any additional love from others is a bonus”. — CONNOR PHIPPS
AI's existential threat unpacked
There is a miasma of fear surrounding the topic of artificial intelligence as people worry where such technology will take us, what new problems will arise as a result of these machines and what society awaits us at the end of this AI-driven train.
“The technology actually hasn’t changed the problem, it’s just made it more concrete,” said Toby Walsh, Chief Scientist at UNSW.ai.
On Sunday evening, Walsh was joined by Tracey Spicer, journalist and author of Man-Made: How the Bias of the Past is Being Built Into the Future (Simon & Schuster), and Erik Jensen, editor-in-chief of Schwartz Media and founding editor of The Saturday Paper, to discuss the hot topic “Who’s Afraid of AI?”
Jensen immediately leavened any unease circulating the room by reassuring the audience he “asked ChatGPT to plan this session and it just wasn’t very good”. Jensen then asked Spicer what, after writing her book, was her largest fear of AI? “Every expert that I interviewed said the same thing, ‘I started with this fear [that] it’s an existential threat to humanity,’” Spicer replied.
Hollywood and science fiction have nurtured this fear of AI as an existential threat. The view of Walsh, who wrote Machines Behaving Badly: The Morality of AI (Black Inc), is based in informed reality. “Robots only do what we tell them to do, and it’s the fact that we’re not necessarily telling them to do the right things,” he said. While AI does not possess the same limitations as the human brain, “the systems are still remarkably stupid … you can get ChatGPT to fail to count to two”.
Spicer sees AI as the next revolution and fears what it may unleash. “We’re going through the fourth Industrial Revolution, in which the racist, misogynistic and colonialist structures of the first revolution are being scaled up…Yes, they are fears, but they’re creeping up on us because we’re marinating in this source of bigotry and we can hardly see it because we’re surrounded by it every day.”
“In a hospital setting,” Spicer said, “if there’s a ventilator there and a Frankenstein data set has been used to create the algorithm to choose who gets the ventilator on their death bed, they would give it to someone who’s 30 more likely than me, who’s over the age of 50.”
This scenario from Spicer illustrated the issue she researched in her book, the idea that “all of these pieces of discrimination and bias have been built in” and are following us to the future.
Returning to Walsh’s assertion that AI is merely a reflection of society, we are confronted with the question of what kinds of behaviours and biases are we implanting in these machines. He asks: “Are we actually going to say to 55-year-olds that you’re less important than 30-year-olds because you’ve got less of your life to live?”
AI-good or AI-bad can be in the eye of the beholder. This confrontation, Walsh posits, can be a positive outcome for AI — an opportunity to reflect, “face up to some really tough choices about what sort of society we want it to be.” His is a hopeful message that looks to society being able to “keep the positives [of AI] while being able to reduce the negatives”. — CHALENE KUKLIN
SATURDAY, MAY 27
How YA keeps 'dark copers' on tenterhooks
In "On Tenterhooks", Ellie Marney (None Shall Sleep series), Mette Jakobsen (The Towers series), and Tristan Bancks (Cop and Robber) came together to discuss YA fiction; their why’s, how’s and the personal experiences that shape their stories.
As the panel’s name suggests, suspense and thrills in Young Adult literature were up for discussion. The panel, however, revolved around Bancks' opening assertion: “reading should be a dangerous adventure”. Jakobsen and Marney agreed, before sharing why they chose to write in the YA genre.
Jakobsen, described in her bio as an "adventurer", admitted “it was more fun than literary fiction” and as a self-proclaimed “non-planner”, she explained how writing The Snow Laundry and Fireflies in Flight kept her “scared and excited”. For Marney, reading and writing YA fiction is “a cathartic process”. She writes predominately for the older end of the YA age range and believes “YA is a charged and energised genre”. That energy comes from the reality of the target readership: “Teenagers are used to fear, anxiety, and tension; they’re on the precipice of adulthood and face feelings of intense change”.
Over the course of the pandemic, not only did general readership numbers increase but thriller and crime fiction sales doubled. Expounding on why people, teens and adults, seemed to gravitate towards thrillers, Marney borrowed the term, "dark copers", which describes people who find “watching scary movies helps them control negative emotions of anxiety and depression that might arise from thinking about the more difficult aspects of life”. She went on to share how “when the "dark times" happened, [she] didn't want a comfort read”. Already speaking to a captive audience, her next words seemed to resonate even further: “I feel like, if I can handle it in literature, then I can handle it in the world”.
The panel shifted focus to the craft of writing and building suspense in fiction. Bancks spoke of “getting multiple threads in the air”, three being a good number. The separate focuses allow tension to grow in the spaces and for the writing to lead the characters and readers away from the relief they are looking for.
Marney agreed and suggested introducing “clipped dialogue” in moments where a character’s energies or attention are forced elsewhere. What they do not or cannot say increases a sense of unease. Drawing inspiration from 19th century Russian playwright Anton Chekov, she also suggested “becoming cold, muted, and locked-down in descriptions of scenes and action”. The result is a ramp in tension, and in the same way the character is isolated by their fear, so too are the readers left isolated, locked off from the emotions they could previously access.
Jakobsen recommended writing in first-person, present tense, "to elicit urgency and generate a feeling of being there, in the moment". She spoke of balancing “explosive and intimate moments”. Explosive moments might contain “fast-paced action” or a stream of information revealed to “overwhelm”. Intimate moments should complement these. It is important to “take the little pauses to build character and the investment of readers”. In the next explosive moment, your readers will have a stronger connection to the characters in their moment of danger.
The event closed with a Q&A and final considerations on writing horror, violence, and potentially traumatic events for a younger audience. Jakobsen captured the thoughts and words of herself and her peers when she said: “the foremost requirement is authenticity”.
As I exited the venue, two ideas remained at the forefront of my mind — in the words of Marney — “tension is powerful and can always be found on the page” and the trio’s affirmation that transparency and authenticity are key to engaging with the YA genre, and young adults as a community of readers and peers. — CONNOR PHIPPS
FRIDAY, MAY 26
Romancing the 'missing' minorities
Do minorities exist in history? Of course, but until quite recently the reader of a romance novel could be forgiven for thinking they were non-existent, even in supporting roles, let alone as central characters.
Friday morning’s "In Love with Romance" panel explored the importance of representing communities who unfortunately “don’t form a lot of our literary canon” and in recognising the flexibility of the romance genre to tell stories from different perspectives.
In remarking on the minorities missing from the literary canon, Saman Shad, editor, journalist and author ofThe Matchmaker (Viking) set the tone for the next hour. Facilitated by radio broadcaster and host of RN's Awaye!, Rudi Bremer, the panel delved into the minds of romance authors who represent the underrepresented in their books.
Freya Marske, co-host of the Hugo-nominated podcast Be the Serpent and author of the Edwardian fantasy trilogy The Last Binding (Macmillan) says it’s important “to show people existed” and that she “wanted to give a group of queer people a community to exist with”.
Yvonne Weldon, the first Indigenous City of Sydney councillor and author of Sixty-Seven Days (Penguin) adds that “my people are not represented in the way we should be.”
All three authors detailed the importance of representation in their books and how the works were penned from their personal experience: Shad's exploration of Sydney’s Western Suburbs showed her communities are not monolithic, Marske presented a queer cast and Weldon’s romance featured Indigenous Australian characters and themes.
As Bremer put it, they take pride in “telling stories you don’t see often”. Throughout the panel discussion, they also provided the audience with insight on how they balanced romance and how they wrote their novels.
Speaking of A Restless Truth, the second book in The Last Binding series, Marske explains how she balanced fantastical elements with the romantic and historical in her fantasy/Edwardian setting by giving it an “everyday colour”. The smaller moments helped develop the larger world, though she confessed she had more leeway picking and choosing which details to layer than most historical authors due to the fantastical element.
Unlike Marske’s work, Shad and Weldon’s works are set in more recent times, with Weldon’s taking place in the 1990s. Shad explained that “there is a lot of art involved in writing something romantic”, and that “it’s a real balancing act” being able to make it “fun and funny but still a romantic comedy” while integrating the “big and meaty” topics such as culture that are important to her.
Weldon acknowledged in the exploration of these themes “I’m addressing taboos” in her truthful interpretation of romance with Aboriginal characters.
The panel came to a close with a round of applause for the panellists and a promise from Marske that the third instalment in trilogy, The Last Binding: A Power Unbound would be released this November. — JENNIFER NGUYEN
THURSDAY, MAY 25
AI and why you don't give a machine gun to an octopus
With artificial intelligence becoming an increasingly significant fixture in today’s society, we watch its unveiling with a mix of awe and fear, for there are infinite possibilities to behold.As Toby Walsh said: “You just have to have the idea.”
Walsh, chief scientist at UNSW.ai, spoke about the moment in which humanity finds itself — a world where chatbots such as ChatGPT are thriving and AI-generated images of the Pope in a white puffer jacket are going viral — and he mused on where such artificial intelligence may take us.
“We are going to build really amazing, intelligent machines,” Walsh said, “machines that exceed human intelligence.” He then went on to reassure the audience we need not fear their intelligence, as human intelligence is not the same as artificial intelligence, just as human intelligence is not the same as octopus intelligence. To think that AI will pertain to the same human intelligence we observe in ourselves is what Walsh called a “very human conceit.”
He was speaking at the Sydney Writers' Festival author talk “Toby Walsh on the Artificial in Artificial Intelligence” at Carriageworks on Thursday. Walsh, a charismatic, compelling speaker, coaxed audience laughter with quips about octopuses and Donald Trump, as well as uneasy whispers when he spoke of the disquieting capabilities of AI. Microsoft’s new AI, for example, needs only “three seconds of audio to get it to copy your voice”. A member of the audience murmured “very scary” at this prospect.
The idea that AI will grow to be smarter and quicker than people is the exact opposite of what worries Walsh about the technology. He is much more concerned about the kinds of responsibilities we are placing on “machines that are not intelligent enough”. An avid supporter of the ban on lethal autonomous weapons, he said “I wouldn’t give an octopus charge of a machine gun, therefore … maybe you shouldn’t give this AI charge of this machine gun, either.”
However, for all the controversy surrounding the possible ramifications of AI use, Walsh commended it for the possibilities it grants us. “There are lots of limitations that machines won’t have that humans have,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s the cause for worry, indeed. I think that’s the cause for celebration.”
Walsh told a story about the conception of ChatGPT and how the program was nearly not released. “They trained the chatbot up … and they came back and said: ‘Hmm. Interesting, but what would you do with it?’”
Thinking back to the introduction of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers in 1979, Walsh recalled a similar sentiment, with people asking themselves “why would I want a personal computer?”
As VisiCalc helped to make the question “Who uses computers?” And why?” obsolete, use of personal computers grew from something of a niche hobby into a global application used today across almost every workplace, many of them far removed from spreadsheets.
AI has the capabilities of doing the same. Looking to the past can show us images of the future for, as Walsh said, “history doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme”. — CHALENE KUKLIN
Stacking shelves pays better but building hope can save the planet
When it comes to the climate crisis, "facts and figures are simply not enough", it is time to bridge the gap between fighting the climate crisis and acknowledging the issue on an emotional level.
On Thursday's "Climate Hope" panel at Carriageworks, moderator Simon Homes à Court, convenor of Climate 200 and a backer of the Teal political movement, joined with award-winning climate scientist Joelle Gergis, Australian-American engineer Saul Griffith and climate campaigner and behaviour change expert Claire O’Rourke to breakdown the climate crisis. The panellists carry decades of industry experience stretching from engineering to politics and have published books on the climate crisis.
The purpose of the panel was simple. Together, they highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between fighting the climate crisis and acknowledging the issue on an emotional level. “The facts and their figures are simply not enough,” Gergis said.
“There's a real disconnect between what we understand and what we feel,” Gergis explained, speaking from her experience as a climate scientist and the author of Humanity’s Moment: A climate scientist's case for hope (Black Inc). While her book begins with her suffocating fear for Earth’s future, her explanation of its content emphasises the possibilities available to society to combat the issue.
O’Rourke acknowledged that “people had a series of barriers” that keep them from doing something about the climate crisis. Among many valid reasons was not knowing how to. With an anecdote of her own detailing the fear her family felt during Black Summer, she emphasised the importance of finding people with “stories you can connect with”. The importance of networking, of finding others who could relate to and guide communities to start movements was a major a theme in her book Together We Can (Allen & Unwin).
Griffith detailed how politics play into combating the climate crisis and how “the free market can no longer hit the target”. He summarised that “it comes down to political will” and people as a society making changes themselves to make changes. Sprinkled with a few f-bombs and a larger show of unfortunate statistics, Griffith's proposal for fighting the climate crisis came down down to being willing to “take his gloves off and fight”, a mindset he encourages others to adopt. Griffith jokes that his books make him less money than stocking Coles’ shelves but that he writes books such as The Big Switch: Australia’s electric future (Black Inc) and Electrify: An optimist's playbook for our clean energy future (MIT Press) regardless, to inform others.
To do your bit, he suggested people should refine the “infrastructure of your life”, citing the six main factors that contribute to an individual’s potential impact on the climate: the type of car you drive; electricity you use; what fuel you use to cook with; the type of heating in your home; type of water heater; and whether you have solar panels.
To bring the session to a hopeful close, the authors articulated how “you can bring a lot to this fight right now”, that there are “networks that you can tap, the catalysts you become” and “the solutions are here, it's just insane we’re not rolling out”. To achieve this, however, what's needed is “a shift in our mentality around what we value”. —JENNIFER NGUYEN
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24
Safe space for cow talk on yoghurt
What is it about Australian and New Zealand yoghurt that’s so much better than its American counterpart? Though lactose intolerant, co-hosts of ABC RN Stop Everything! Beverly Wang and Benjamin Law put their heads together with guest, Daniel M. Lavery, to figure it out.
The free Stop Everything! show at Phive, Parramatta’s community, civic and cultural hub, on Wednesday evening, discussed the possibilities of corn, cows and how the two somehow tied into culture during the evening's podcast recording. With their “trademark banter dynamic”and self-described “mutually abusive relationship” the two hosts presented a live, laugh-filled panel with the American author and editor.
Lavery, who now hosts the relationships podcast Big Mood Little Mood, previously spent five years writing the “Dear Prudence” advice column for US online magazine Slate. He stepped down in 2021 because “I don’t feel like I have more than five years of advice in me”. He has since published a collection of the weirdest, wildest entries from his column in Dear Prudence (Harper Collins). Now at the end of his book tour for Dear Prudence, Lavery was jet-lagged but no less enthusiastic for the panel.
'This is a safe space where you can ask a question that's deeply personal in front of a room of strangers.'
All three found a delightful balance between Lavery’s advice columnist know-how and their usual insightful look into pop culture, starting off with Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid, which opens tomorrow, May 26, in the United States. Only a small number of the audience had actually watched the original 1989 animated Disney film, but the hosts and their guest launched into a discussion of the ups and downs of the animated film and what they’d seen of the live-action version from trailers.
In the original story, Ariel turned into sea foam, but the panellists argued that Disney’s animated version involving the mermaid giving up her entire life for Prince Eric was arguably better. With the talk of the fairy tale’s rushed happily ever after, they soon swerved into Lavery’s area of expertise: relationships. A “connoisseur” of advice, as Dear Prudence, Lavery had been the go-to guy for input and guidance for Slate's “letter writers”.
Of all the situations on which he was asked to arbitrate, he confessed workplace questions were his favourite because “it’s gonna be good, it’s gonna be juicy, it’s gonna be surprising".
In a continuous back-and-forth exchange, they went into the nuances of relationships, drawing on Lavery’s past experiences as Dear Prudence. The advice ranged from “technically you should wait until they break the Geneva Convention” to “of course I’ll get you another glass of water, (whispers) get out of my house”. Humorous answers on the importance of setting boundaries and why people have trouble ending relationships brought constant snickering from the audience. It turns out a lot of Lavery’s letter writers have difficulty initiating breakups if their partners are not sociopathic serial killers.
The importance of setting boundaries did, however, provide insightful advice into how someone should differentiate between niceness and kindness. A story about housing a friend post-op triggered an informative discussion on how to say no when necessary. Namely, knowing yourself and what you can, or are willing to provide for them.
Finally, they closed the entertaining session with a reassuring open floor invitation to the audience: “This is a safe space where you can ask a question that's deeply personal in front of a room of strangers”. — JENNIFER NGUYEN
TUESDAY, MAY 23
How the past shapes the future
The theme of this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival, “How the past shapes the future”, was front and centre in the opening night address at Carriageworks on Tuesday evening.
After a brief introduction by the festival’s artistic director Ann Mossop, she deferred to the evening’s speakers — Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other), Alexis Wright (Praiseworthy), Benjamin Law (The Family Law) — to unpack the meaning behind those words
For Evaristo, “who we are as nations is the result of who we were in our yesteryears”. Both Evaristo and Wright spoke about the constructed narratives of history, that erase the presence and roles of Indigenous people, that we are sold as the true record of time.
Wright was also concerned “if literature is devalued in this era of crisis, will we still have writings of depth?” Wright and Evaristo offered something of a prescription for counteracting the state of crisis the world, including the world of stories, is in. Wright, a Waanyi Nation woman and winner of the Miles Franklin Award for her 2006 novel Carpentaria, spoke of what Aboriginal people across Australia, and what she hopes writers, readers, and broader communities of the world can aspire towards. For Wright, this is acknowledging “we belong to the all times... we live in the infinite clock of country and we are not of the colonisers' time that began in 1788.”
'If literature is devalued in this era of crisis, will we still have writings of depth?'
Underpinning both Evaristo and Wright’s speeches was the idea that looking back at the past, knowing that there is no single truth, that a diversity of perspectives was paramount to reading the future, living in the present and writing forwards into the future.
Benjamin Law took us back to the beginning of the Sydney Writers' Festival in 1997, noting that “it is unlikely the opening address would have been hosted by the likes of Alexis Wright, Bernardine Evaristo, or myself”.
Law assured this was “not a sledge on the festival, but on the Australian publishing industry”. Our literature, movies, TV shows, and other forms of media have failed to include this for decades. We have been presented with the same prominent images of white, Anglo-Australian families and faces, as if that is what Australia really looks like.
Law remains hopeful, perhaps because “nothing lasts forever”, or perhaps because change really is becoming increasingly evident. Law read out the diverse list of debut authors, including André Dao, Nicola Harvey, Shirley Le, Diana Reid, Kate Scott, Grace Tame, Leanne Yong, and more. “Their diversity is proof.”
The closing poetry of Madison Godfrey’s Dress Rehearsals embodied the words of the speakers before them. They performed a medley of poems that brought the audience from past to future, emphasising an approach to time and place with fresh perspective that both accounts for and rewrites our past experiences in a new light.
In wrapping up the event, festival director Mossop said the opening address speakers began the process that, for many speakers at this year’s festival, would be at the heart of their “Stories For the Future”, in that “laying the grounds for the future means destroying the fictions and distortions of the past”.
The opening address put into stark relief just how significant it was to explore this year’s theme of how the past shapes the future, and as Mossop put it, provided “a taste of what’s to come.” — CONNOR PHIPPS
And the award goes to ...
What’s in an award? On Tuesday, a panel of this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Award winners sat down at the State Library’s Gallery Room to discuss the motivations for their award-winning works.
The panel, moderated by Jane McCredie, a senior judge of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, featured award winners Debra Dank, Sara Mansour, Kim Cheng Boey and Jackie Bailey, reading excerpts from their books. It drew a respectable crowd with most of the available seats filled.
'As we move on, the way we look at the past changes and memory becomes revisionist in a way.'
Debra Dank won an extraordinary four awards for her memoir We Come With This Place - Book of the Year, the Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction, the Indigenous Writers’ Prize and the UTS Glenda Adams award.
“My skin itches when I hear it described as a memoir because it’s so far from that,” Dank said of its genre. Of the panel’s other speakers, Dank said, “I’m sitting here with non-white Australians. I have not been on a panel and shared so many similarities and maybe that is cathartic or affirming because I think we get each other that reflect our heritages, that we are struggling always to maintain and to remain true to.”
Sara Mansour, co-founder and director of The Bankstown Poetry Slam, won the 2023 Special Award. which marked a divergence from previous winners of this award.
“It’s quite an unusual win,” McCredie said. “The Special Award almost always goes to an individual writer who has made an extraordinary contribution to Australian literature but this year it went to a community volunteer-led organisation, Bankstown Poetry Slam, which has had a transformative impact in Western Sydney.”
Kim Cheng Boey, who won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry with The Singer and Other Poems, was inspired by past experiences. “In my work I’ve always been engaged in exploring past experiences, revisiting them, and looking at them from new perspectives. As we move on, the way we look at the past changes and memory becomes revisionist in a way,” he said.
Jackie Bailey won the Multicultural NSW award for The Eulogy, which she began writing while studying for her Doctorate of Philosophy at UNSW. “They call it autofiction, autobiographical fiction, so that means I wanted plausible deniability when it came to my family. I did make up some stuff, it’s not all true,” she explained, to a ripple of laughter around the room. “But the core of the story is about me and my sister, Alison, who died eight years ago. She’s why I wrote the book.” — LYCHEE LUI