Hugo Fellow Adelle Dimitui is a graphic novelist whose work is heavily influenced by her childhood growing up in Myanmar and the Philippines. She’s currently working on her debut graphic novel, Roaming Among Myths. Read more about Adelle’s project and fellowship experience below, and don’t miss the Hugo Fellows Mid-Year Reading just two weeks away!
Interview with 2023-24 Hugo Fellow, Adelle Dimitui
Tell us more about your Fellowship project!
…I’ve been spending a lot of nights in my studio apartment, scripting, storyboarding, and penciling illustrations! (I now consider my drafting table to be my place of residence.) Roaming Among Myths is intended to be my love letter to the country of Myanmar, where I lived for thirteen years as a young girl. The story highlights some of my favorite aspects of Burmese culture, from the country’s ornate mythology to the Theravada Buddhist theology that still impacts how Burmese society functions today, while also being a story about the manifestations of enduring, devoted love in its many forms.
How has it been working with Hugo House Writers-In-Residence, Joyce and Ching-In? What are you learning?
Joyce and Ching-in have been incredibly thoughtful about how they structure our workshops. They center our discussions around Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process, play calming music at the start of each session, and give each Fellow a “check-in activity” so that we get the chance to briefly decouple ourselves from the chaos of our lives and be truly present for each other in the duration of time that we’re together. As someone who always strives to engage meaningfully with other people’s work, I’ve been incredibly excited by the additional ideas and frameworks they’ve equipped me with, setting examples for how we can provide each other with food for thought on our pieces, while making it abundantly clear that, ultimately, every writer has autonomy over their own work and should feel 100% empowered to follow their instincts.
Tell us more about working with the other Fellows in your cohort. How has working within this group contributed to your craft and relationship with writing?
Oh my word, I have so loved working with this group of folks. From the instant I stepped into the Hugo House classroom for our first workshop, the thing that was immediately apparent to me was that everyone’s shared energy was so gentle. As someone who spent her entire life creating art in a silo, struggling to share her work with others because I was never certain if people would treat the vulnerable outpourings of my heart with care, the Fellows have provided me with a space where I am free to share the imaginings of the unabashedly tender side of my artist self. They’ve reassured me in the strength of my writing where I would have otherwise cast doubt on my storytelling ability, and as a result, I’ve felt much more license to fully lean into the reverence and mysticism of my story. In turn, I hope that I’ve been able to provide that same encouragement to the other Fellows, especially considering that I’ve been so inspired by the personal resonance and beauty of their art (how I cannot wait for their work to be released to the world so that everyone else can fall in love with their imagination’s inventions the same way I have!).
Thank you so much for sharing about your Fellowship experience, Adelle!