Western Sydney literacy movement, Sweatshop, launches The Big Black Thing: a new anthology by emerging and established writers from migrant, refugee and Indigenous backgrounds. To celebrate, join Sweatshop for an afternoon of performance readings by some of Western Sydney’s most exciting writers, including Maryam Azam, Winnie Dunn, Shirley Le and Stephen Pham. Hosted by Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Ellen van Neerven.  

Curated by Peter Polites.

Winnie Dunn (Australian)

Winnie Dunn

Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the General Manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. Winnie’s work has been published in The Sydney Review of Books, Going Down Swinging, Griffith Review, Meanjin, SBS Voices, Southerly and Red Room Poetry. She is the editor of several anthologies, most recently Sweatshop Women and This Little Red Thing. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.

Shirley Le (Australian)

Shirley Le

Shirley Le is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Yagoona. She is a member of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and holds a BA from Macquarie University. Her short stories and essays have been published in SBS Life, The Lifted Brow, The Griffith Review, Meanjin and The Big Black Thing.

Maryam Azam (Australian)

Maryam Azam

Maryam Azam is a Pakistani-Australian writer and teacher from Western Sydney. She graduated with Honours in Creative Writing from Western Sydney University. She is a recipient of the WestWords Emerging Writers’ Fellowship and has discussed her work at Queensland Poetry Festival and Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, among others. She is a member of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. Her debut poetry collection The Hijab Files was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Award and Anne Elder Award.

Peter Polites (Australian)

Peter Polites

Peter Polites is a writer of Greek descent from Western Sydney. Peter writes and performs pieces all over Australia, and also writes performance texts for Urban Theatre Projects. His first novel Down the Hume was shortlisted for a NSW Premier's Literary Award in 2017. His second novel, The Pillars, is a dark satire of gay and ethnic aspirations.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Australian)

Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the Founding Director of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. His debut novel The Tribe won the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists of the Year Award. His latest novel The Lebs received the 2019 Premier’s Multicultural Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Michael completed his doctorate at Western Sydney University in 2017.

Ellen van Neerven (Australian)

Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer and editor. Of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage, Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry called Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and was Highly Commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat is Ellen’s second poetry collection.