Throughout history, writers, artists and intellectuals have used freedom of expression as a platform to resist those in power. Hear a panel of emerging writers from Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement discuss the politics of identity in storytelling and how it’s a powerful tool for resisting systemic racism and classism, in Australia and beyond. Evelyn Araluen, Omar Sakr, Shirley Le, Stephen Pham, Monikka Ellah and Winnie Dunn will discuss resistance in storytelling and the political purpose of whitewashed bookshelves, questioning what happens when freedom of expression lacks diversity.

Evelyn Araluen (Australian)

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Evelyn Araluen is a poet, teacher and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. She has written poetry and criticism for a range of publications, including Overland and Southerly. In 2017 she won the Nakata Brophy Award for Young Indigenous Writers, and in 2018 won the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. Born and raised on the Dharug lands of Western Sydney, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.

Omar Sakr (Australian)

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Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet whose work has been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish. His poetry has or will soon feature in Griffith Review, Meanjin, Island, Overland, The New Arab, Mizna, Antic, and Circulo de Poesia. He has been anthologised in Best Australian Poems 2016 and Contemporary Australian Poetry, and his debut collection These Wild Houses was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe award. He is the Poetry Editor of The Lifted Brow.

Shirley Le (Australian)

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Shirley Le is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Western Sydney. She holds a BA from Macquarie University. In 2014, she won First Prize in ZineWest. Since then, her short stories and essays have been published in SBS Online, The Lifted Brow, The Griffith Review, Meanjin and The Big Black Thing. Shirley is a recipient of a WestWords 2017 Emerging Writers Fellowship.

Stephen Pham (Australian)

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Stephen Pham is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Cabramatta. He is an original member of Sweatshop Writers’ Collective. Stephen’s work has appeared in Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, Griffith Review, and Overland. He has also performed at Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers’ Festival, and Emerging Writers’ Festival. In 2017 Stephen received the NSW Writer’s Fellowship to commence work on his manuscript Vietnamatta.

Monikka Eliah (Australian)

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Monikka Eliah is an Assyrian-Australian writer from Fairfield. She received her arts degree from the University of New South Wales and has presented for the Wollongong Writers’ Festival, the Stella Girls Write Up and the Digital Writers’ Festival. She is currently a member of the National Theatre of Parramatta’s Page to Stage program and CuriousWorks’ Breakthrough program.

Winnie Dunn (Australian)

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Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian from Mount Druitt. She is a Manager and Editor at Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and a Bachelor of Arts graduate from Western Sydney University. Winnie's work has been published in The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review, Sydney Review of Books, The Griffith Review and The Big Black Thing. She has presented at Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival, Wollongong Writers' Festival and Stella Girls Write Up.