Sam van Zweden


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Super-Early Heads Up

As you’ve probably gathered from previous posts and publications, I find non-fiction challenging and fun.

The most recent creative non-fiction I’ve read that excited me was by David Shields – his Reality Hunger blew my head clear off my shoulders, and The Thing About Life is That One Day You’ll Be Dead really made me think about family legacies and storytelling, as well as mortality and the way we write and speak about our own experiences. David Shields is exciting to read, and he’s exciting to watch speak. He has exciting ideas, and he presents them in new and exciting ways.

With all this love I’ve got for David Shields and his writing and his practice and his entire being, I screamed when I found that he’s a keynote speaker for RMIT’s  (November) 2012 conference, NonfictioNow. As an RMIT student I’m hoping to smuggle myself in backstage and get to meet the man. And if not, I’ll at least be able to drool on his brain from a distance.

So an early heads up – I’ll post again in a year when the conference is actually happening, but until then – get onto David Shields’ work so you’re all caught up by the time he’s in town.

Published in…

Nonfiction and Reviews:


  • Lovers of Valdaro‘, in Cordite NO THEME V, May 2016.
  • Fountain‘, in Tincture, Issue 11, August 2015.
  • The Horror of the Body‘ in Tincture, Issue Six, June 2014.
  • Fold‘ in Tincture, Issue One, March 2013.
  • ‘Sail’ at Verity La, March 2012.
  • ‘Tiny Women’ in Undertow: An anthology of creative writing by students at RMIT university 2011, October 2011.
  • ‘Enter Sol’ on Verity La, February 2011.
  • ‘Dancing on Architecture’ in Voiceworks #82, ‘Hunger’. Spring 2010
  • ‘Horse Factory’ and ‘I drank the ocean’ in Overload Electric Text, part of Overload Poetry Festival – at Federation Square ticker text. 10th – 19th September, 2010.
  • ‘Sylvia Plath’ in Poetry 4 U, part of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival – at Federation Square ticker text. 27th August – 5th September, 2010
  • ‘Tick-Tock Polka’ in Ricochet Magazine #01, Winter 2010.


  • Contributed to Scum Mag‘s ‘Advent Calendar Experience‘, Christmas 2014.
  • ‘After the End’ in Catalyst, February 2014.
  • ‘Arachnophobia’ on Twelve Moments, November, 2010.
  • ‘Hold On’ in Page Seventeen issue 8, 2010.


  • The Memories We Inherit‘, with Krissy Kneen and Sarah L’Estrange, on Melbourne Writers Festival podcast.
  • Let’s Talk podcast, ‘What is healthy eating?‘, October 2021.
  • The Garrett, February 2021.
  • Emerging Writers Festival 2021. Host, ‘A Meal at the Table’; workshop convenor, ‘A Body of Work’.
  • Sydney Writers’ Festival 2021. Panellist: Food writing panel, Curiosity lecture, Stop Everything live.
  • RMIT University, From and Towards NonfictioNOW: A Chorus of Reports. Panellist. September 2017.
  • Melbourne Writers Festival, September 2017. In conversation: ‘Moleskine Coffee + Create’.
  • NonfictioNOW (Reykjavik, Iceland), June 2017. Panellist: ‘Of Cannibals: Writers on Food as Literary Lens’
  • Wheeler Centre, October 2016. Panellist, ‘Green Cleaver‘.
  • Emerging Writers’ Festival, 2016. Criticism Masterclass speaker/panellist, ‘Anatomy of an Essay’.
  • NonfictioNOW (Flagstaff, Arizona) October 2015. Panellist, ‘Unusual Foods and Edible Guests’.
  • Emerging Writers’ Festival, 2015. National Writers Conference (Melbourne Town Hall) panellist and chair, ‘Blogging’.
  • Noted Festival digital program, March 2015. Columnist, ‘Buzzwords‘.
  • National Young Writers’ Festival, 2014: Chair – ‘Dear Diary’ and ‘Writers’ Other Jobs’. Panellist – ‘When It’s Time to Stop’ and ‘Whose Identity is it Anyway?’
  • Digital Writers’ Festival, 2014. Panellist, ‘IRL: Literary Collectives and Place’.
  • Digital Writers Festival, 2014. White Night: ‘Book of the Night’ writer, 5am slot.


Sam_4_LJMSam van Zweden is a Melbourne-based freelance writer interested in experimental nonfiction, essays, mental health, body writing, food, and memory.

Her collection of personal essays, Eating With My Mouth Open, won the 2019 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award, and was published in February 2021 by Newsouth Publishing.

Sam’s writing has appeared in the Saturday PaperMeanjin, The Big Issue, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, The Sydney Review of Books, The Wheeler Centre and others.

Past achievements include:

  • 2019 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award winner
  • 2019 Varuna/Copyright Agency Fellowship
  • 2017 Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards – shortlisted
  • 2016 Lifted Brow & non/fictionLab Experimental Non-fictionPrize – shortlisted
  • 2016 RMIT Urban Writing House writer-in-residence
  • 2015 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers – shortlisted
  • 2015 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship
  • 2015 City of Literature Travel Fund recipient

Sam has appeared at the Melbourne Writers Festival, NonfictioNOW, National Young Writers Festival, the Digital Writers’ Festival, Noted, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, RMIT’s Present Tense talks, and The Wheeler Centre. She completed her Honours year at RMIT in 2014, writing about food and memory.

Keep in touch via:

She can also be emailed at 

For book-related media and publicity, please contact Caitlin Lawless at NewSouth:

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