Nayuka Gorrie, Writer
Nayuka Gorrie is a writer, thinker and activist. Her work is powerful and passionate and the kind that keeps us questioning, challenging and pushing for better. It's a real treat to share her behind-the-scenes thoughts and inspirations with you today. Thanks Nayuka!
What do you do?
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
First do no harm (to the people you care about) or don’t be a cunt.
To butcher my metaphors - we all stand on the shoulders of giants and it takes a village, etc.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
Living in blakhouse surrounded by strong black people.
Writing my first thing for Vice.
Going freelance. I quit my job a few months ago to invest in my writing. I am privileged and supported enough to be able to back myself.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Writing a book.
Producing a party/show with the Koorie Heritage Trust for the Melbourne Fringe festival showcasing First Nations responses to the apocalypse. Cop details here.
Writing a beautiful long form piece about my great grandmother Linda for Going Down Swinging.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
Watching Lemonade last year with my aunty and cousins was emotional. Our lord and savior Beyonce articulated and made visual the pain and the joy and the beauty that can manifest in black womanhood.
It’s not quite creative but listening to Larissa Behrendt’s Mabo Oration in 2007 was a huge turning point for me as a 17 year old and I doubt I’d be the person I am had I not.
Earlier this year I was at this museum in Brussels. Belgium was/is colonial as fuck. They have all these fancy buildings and fancy wide, nice streets. I can’t help but contrast this with learning about how they used to cut off the hands of black people in the Congo. They had an exhibition with photos and art from the Congo during a particular period. I broke down looking at these old photographs because those photos could have been from back home. They were photos of these beautiful black people in these European clothes. Assimilation is psychological torture and realising the extent of the colonial project will always be a head fuck. I have a lot of respect for people like Lisa Hilli, Aunty Sana, Leuli Eshrahgi and Kimberley Moulton, working with or against institutions, decolonising and trying to repatriate what was stolen.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
Listening to a lot of Sampa the Great, Lizzo, Ah Mer Ah Su, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Birdz.
Watching horror films and playing Resident Evil 5 with my boyfriend Witt.
Reading the Harry Potter series again, and Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race.
I recently watched I Am Not Your Negro and I’ve thought about it every single day since.
How can we find our more about your work?
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I am introverted. I spend most of my time alone with my plants and my (boyfriend’s) dog Ned, and I love that.
What places are important to you?
Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers, Victoria)
Naarm (Melbourne, Victoria)
Meanjin (Brisbane, Queensland)
Bedford Stuyvesant (New York, Amerikkka)
Wherever my Mum is.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Reclaimin my time (also applying this to my body, my country, my culture). I also believe it was Daisy Catteral who said make your bed in the morning. Also Rae Johnston once wrote on a status to never hope harder than you work. I like that one.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
All genders can come through with the goods but Black femmes will always have my heart. They are home and often where and with whom I feel safest.
What is your dream project?
The ultimate dream would be living in a matriarchy on my country. Also this isn’t really relevant / a dream project per se but if the world wasn’t such a bin fire I’d love to learn how to make ceramics. I also want to learn permaculture and grow heaps of veggies.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
If I’d like to play Settlers Of Catan. Yes, I would thank you.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
More black editors. Ending white supremacy.
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
Miss Blanks. We are blessed.