Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet who was born in Singapore of Chinese descent. She speaks English and Mandarin. She took a Masters of Letters at Sydney University, studying with the poet Judith Beveridge. She has been the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award for a Doctorate in Creative Arts at Western Sydney University.
In 2010, she won the Poets Union Youth Fellowship and was the Australian Poetry Fellow for 2011-2012. Her books are Burning Rice (2012), Peony (2014), and Painting Red Orchids (2016), all from Pitt Street Poetry, Sydney.
Burning Rice was shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award 2012 for a first book, the Australian Arts in Asia Award 2013, as well as the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2013. It has also been selected as a HSC prescribed text for 2019-2023. Painting Red Orchids shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2017.
Individual poems have short- and long-listed for major poetry prizes, including the Peter Porter Poetry Prize 2015, the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2016, and the University of Canberra’s Vice-Chancellor Award 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Eileen’s work is widely published and anthologised in Australian and international literary journals and books. Another Language (2017) is published by George Braziller in New York, U.S.A. Eileen is the first Australian poet of Asian descent to be published in the Braziller Series of Australian Poets, edited by Paul Kane.
Her fourth collection, Rainforest will be published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2018.
Eileen has also been a judge of prestigious poetry prizes, including the Blake Poetry Prize 2013, the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2017, and the New South Wales’ Premier’s Literary Awards for Poetry (the Kenneth Slessor Prize) 2018.
Workshops and readings
Eileen holds a Masters of Letters (Creative Writing) from Sydney University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Linguistics and Literature) from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and a Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education in Singapore.
She is a natural public speaker and a dynamic, engaging performer of her own work. Eileen’s poetry, while multilayered, is direct and accessible and speaks of both specific cultural experiences as well as universal themes of love, place and identity.
Eileen, utilising her training and experience as a high-school teacher, is also able to run poetry and creative writing workshops for all levels. She is highly professional, adaptable and personable.
She is equally comfortable presenting to 300 students, as she is working with a class of 30, or providing one-on-one feedback on writing. She prides herself in establishing and maintaining on-going relationships with students, teachers, and schools, using poetry to inspire a deep passion for the written and spoken word.