Intan Paramaditha grew up in Indonesia before travelling to the USA as a Fulbright Scholar to complete a MA in English Literature at the University of California San Diego, and a PhD in Cinema Studies at New York University.
She has lectured in film and screen studies at Macquarie since 2016, with a research focus on global cinema and media, feminism and cultural activism.
She is also an acclaimed fiction writer, with her most recent work The Wandering longlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize.
1. Something you feel proud of
Finishing my novel The Wandering. I started in 2008 and finished nine years later in 2017. In between, I completed my PhD and moved many times. I lived in the US, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Australia during that time, so it’s a novel about travel, written as I travelled across borders.
2. Something people usually ask you when they find out what you do for living
How I manage my time as an academic and a fiction writer. To be hones, it’s very difficult because whenever I have time away from teaching and university service, I will use it for both traditional academic research and fiction writing. Often, I have to abandon the latter. But questions that I engage with as an academic are also the questions that inform my fiction. The research is connected – it’s just that the outcomes are different, and moving from one mode of writing to another is challenging.
3. What you need to do your best work
Wake up early in the morning, make coffee, turn off my cell phone, watch the sunrise, and write. This is a luxury that I don’t always have, but I usually try to make time even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
4. Something you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you
Hurricane Season, a novel by Fernanda Melchor. It’s a beautifully written Mexican novel, translated from Spanish, about the killing of a woman accused as a witch. The prose is haunting, and it provokes questions around in what conditions people justify violence against women. I recently recommended it to my MRes student, who is doing a research on the representation of femicide in Mexico.
5. Your definition of success
I define success like Emily Dickinson describes hope: it’s the thing with feathers. It doesn’t stay too long.
6. A website or app you can’t live without
For years I used Apple Calendar on my computer and the To Do app to schedule my week, but recently I’ve been going analog more often, with notebooks. I remember better with pen and paper. I have different notebooks for different writing projects.
7. What you love about where you live
I live in the inner west and I’m very happy with my location because it’s near the river and the view is lovely. I go running on a regular basis.
8. Something you’re trying to do differently in 2021
I’ve started listening to podcasts as a way to shift my mood and help me transition between ‘zones’. I listen to podcasts on academic research and writing before I work on academic manuscripts, and when I transition to fiction writing, I’ll listen to poems or interviews with authors.
9. You’re happiest when…
I am with my family, on our family movie night, watching horror.
10. Something you’d like staff to know about
I collaborated with Tilted Axis Press for their Translating Feminisms series – it’s an initiative of publishing more Asian women writers as part of a larger attempt to decolonize feminism. I edited Deviant Disciples, a chapbook featuring poems by Indonesian women writers, as part of the series.