Cher Tan is an essayist and critic in Naarm/Melbourne, via Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide and Singapore.
Image: Lauren Connelly
Her work has appeared in the Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, Runway Journal, The Lifted Brow, Overland and Gusher Magazine, amongst others. She is the reviews editor at Meanjin and an editor at LIMINAL magazine. Her artistic practice is driven by an interest in subcultural identity, settler-colonialism, late-stage capitalism and class mobility, and how these intersect with new media and technology, politics and/or pop culture.
What activities will the Creators Fund support you to undertake?
Further development of my debut full-length work, provisionally titled PERIPATHETIC: NOTES ON (UN)BELONGING, an experimental essay collection about globalised identities that are always in flux. It explores authenticity, refuge and liminality, and what it means to inhabit amorphous spaces within societies that strive to put people into boxes—via the lens of class, technology, identity, culture and more. The book wishes to trouble the idea of ‘belonging’ and unsettle tropes surrounding stark binaries, in a way that is formally playful, speaking to a generation of people who are ‘extremely online’ and who are not beholden to conceptions of a nation-state.
Can you talk us through what your work routine will look like with the help of a creator's fund grant?
My work routine will involve intensively researching, developing and writing two longform essays for the purposes of this collection over a period of 6 months. It will also see me working alongside an editorial mentor, who will not only give me feedback on the work but guide me in the know-how required to write a book proposal. The entire process will be documented and written on in a series of 4 email newsletters that will be sent out to subscribers.
Where would you like to see yourself and your career at the end of this process?
At the end of the funded period, I will come away with the two completed essays (which will significantly add to the current manuscript-in-progress) and a book proposal which will then kickstart the first step in the process that is the subsequent publication of PERIPATHETIC, as I begin to shop the proposal and manuscript to agents and publishers. I would like to see the process culminate in a book deal, which will mean