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, activist, and PhD candidate teaching and researching Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney, Eora country. Born and raised on Dharug country with Bundjalung ancestry, her poetry and criticism can be found in Southerly, Overland, and The Best Australian Poems of 2016.

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 with a media degree from Macquarie University. Shirley is a member of the Sweatshop Writers Collective and has produced youth shows for SBS Vietnamese Radio and has curated events for TEDxYouth. She won first prize in the ZineWest 2014 Writing Competition and her work has been published by SBS Online and The Big Black Thing. She has also performed her writing at Studio Stories, the Wollongong Writers’ Festival and the Campbelltown Arts Centre for the 2017 Sydney Festival exhibition of Another Day in Paradise.

Stephen Pham (Australian)

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Stephen Pham is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Cabramatta. He is a member of the Sweatshop Writers Collective and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales. Stephen’s work has appeared in Overland, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, The Big Black Thing, and Right Now. Most recently, he performed at Campbelltown Arts Centre for the 2017 Sydney Festival exhibition of Another Day in Paradise. He has also spoken on panels and performed readings at the Wollongong Writers’ Festival, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Newcastle National Young Writers’ Festival, Late Night Library, and the New South Wales Writers’ Centre.

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.