Photo: Jeff Golden
What does it take to support parents in the workplace, and how can we make the career ladder more baby-friendly?
With Michèle A’Court keeping order, we hear from Holly Walker (The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, Politics, and Women's Writing), Lizzie Marvelly (That F Word: Growing Up Feminist in Aotearoa), Renee Liang (playwright, paediatrician, parent and co-author of When We Remember to Breathe) and stay-at-home dad Rajorshi Chakraborti (The Man Who Would Not See).
This is a session for the whole ‘village’: those who are currently juggling a career with being a parent, those who are contemplating it, and those who want to support family and friends better.
Holly Walker is a writer, reviewer and children's advocate based in Lower Hutt. From 2011 - 2014 she was a Member of Parliament for the Green Party and has previously worked as a public servant, political advisor, and journalist. She holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, undertaken on a Rhodes Scholarship. She is a regular contributor to The Spinoff, where she co-hosts a monthly parenting podcast, and her essays and interviews have been published by The Wireless, Sunday magazine, and in two recent books. She currently works as a Principal Advisor at the Office of the Children's Commissioner. Holly lives in Petone with her partner and two children.
Lizzie Marvelly is a writer, musician and creator. She has produced two top-10 albums and has toured internationally. In May 2015, she added advocacy to her oeuvre when she launched Villainesse.com, an award-winning online media project that brings together student and citizen writers and inspirational contributors. In September that year, Lizzie launched Villainesse’s first major campaign, the globally-successful #MyBodyMyTerms. Its videos have been viewed over 500,000 times and attracted press attention around the world. This led to a gig as a Huffington Post contributor and columnist for the Weekend Herald. Lizzie has also appeared as a regular guest on current affairs programmes The Project and Marae. That F Word: Growing up Feminist in Aotearoa is her first book.
Renee Liang, a second-generation Chinese Kiwi, is a poet, playwright, paediatrician, medical researcher and fiction writer. She has written in many genres including short and long fiction, poetry, theatre, non-fiction, blogging and arts journalism. She has also collaborated on visual arts works, film and music, produced and directed theatre works, worked as a dramaturg, taught creative writing and organised community-based arts initiatives. She won the Royal Society Manhire Prize in Science Writing for Creative Non-Fiction in 2012. Her play The Quiet Room was shortlisted for the Adam Play Award in 2013, won the teen section of Playmarket’s Plays For The Young in 2014, and SWANZ award for Best Play in 2016. Under The Same Moon was a finalist in the SWANZ Best Play Awards in 2015.
Rajorshi Chakraborti was born in 1977 in Calcutta, and grew up there and in Mumbai. He lived and studied in Canada, England and Scotland. Between 2007 and 2010, he worked as a lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh, where he had earlier completed his doctoral studies in African and Indian Literature. He has written five novels, including the recent NZ best seller The Man Who Would Not See. His short story ‘Knock, Knock’ won second prize in the 2011 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award. Rajorshi belongs to the Write Where You Are (WWYA) Trust in Wellington, which aims to increase the accessibility of creative writing among groups that face barriers to participation in the arts, and he is currently part of a team offering classes at the men’s and women’s prisons in the region.
Michele A’Court has been part of New Zealand’s entertainment industry since she first appeared on television in 1987 as a children’s TV presenter. Originally trained as a journalist, she has been writing a weekly column on social issues for the stuff.co.nz website since 2008, which also appears in print in “Your Weekend”. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in Metro, Next, the Listener, Sunday Star Times, In-Business, Good, Bride & Groom and Pet Magazine. She is a contributor to https://thespinoff.co.nz/ Her first book, Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter, was published in 2015 and was a bestseller. Her second book, How We Met: The ways great love begins, was published in April 2018.Book Now!