What is the special alchemy of rhythm, flow and expression that brings poetry to life on and off the page? Come see a line-up of the Festival’s most captivating poets as they share insight into the art form and perform live readings of their work. Featuring Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, an award-winning Vietnamese poet and bestselling novelist of The Mountain Sings and Dust Child, Trinidad-born British poet Anthony Joseph, who recently won the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, Joshua Whitehead, Canadian First Nations scholar and poet, author of collection full-metal indigiqueer, and acclaimed Australian poet Madison Godfrey, author of the memoir-in-poems Dress Rehearsals with award-winning poet Omar Sakr as host.

Anthony Joseph (International)

Anthony Joseph

Dr Anthony Joseph is an award-winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and musician. He is the author of five poetry collections and three novels. His 2018 novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award, and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His most recent publication is the experimental novel The Frequency of Magic. In 2019, he was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship. As a musician, he has released eight critically acclaimed albums, and in 2020 received a Paul Hamblyn Foundation Composers Award. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, London. ​His new collection Sonnets for Albert was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and won the 2022 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

Madison Godfrey (Australian)

Madison Godfrey

Madison Godfrey is a writer, editor and educator who lives on Whadjuk Noongar land, with a rescue cat named Sylvia. They have performed poetry at Sydney Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall, and Glastonbury Festival. Madison is a previous recipient of the Kat Muscat Fellowship, the Varuna Flagship Fellowship, and a WA Youth Award. Their new poetry collection Dress Rehearsals was published by Allen & Unwin in March 2023 and “sounds like the score of a rebellion” (Nakkiah Lui).

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (International)

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is a Vietnamese author whose novel, The Mountains Sing, is an international bestseller, runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the BookBrowse Best Debut Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award Fellowship. Author of twelve books in Vietnamese and English, her writing has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in major publications including The New York Times. Dust Child is her most recent novel.

Joshua Whitehead (International)

Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead (he/him) is a Two-Spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary where he is housed in the departments of English and International Indigenous Studies (Treaty 7). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017) which was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press 2018) which was long listed for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and Canada Reads 2021. Whitehead is the editor of Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, which won the Lambda Award in 2021. Whitehead’s latest book Making Love with the Land was published in 2022 with Knopf Canada, exploring the intersections of Indigeneity, queerness, and, most prominently, mental health through a nêhiyaw lens. The book was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award for Nonfiction. You can also find his work published widely in such venues as Prairie Fire, CV2, EVENT, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Grain, CNQ, Write, and Red Rising Magazine.

Omar Sakr (Australian)

Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr is the son of Arab and Turkish Muslim migrants. He is the author of three poetry collections, including The Lost Arabs (UQP), which won the 2020 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry, and a novel, Son of Sin (Affirm Press), published in 2022. His latest book is Non-Essential Work. He lives and works on Dharug land, where he was born and raised.