Omar Sakr, Rawah Arja and Stephen Pham are three of the rising stars from western Sydney’s vibrant writing scene. In 2017, these writers spent time at Varuna as part of the WestWords Varuna Western Sydney Residential Program. Come along to this session to hear about their work and discover the fiery writing coming out of Sydney’s geographical and cultural heartland. Presented with Varuna, the National Writers’ House. Co-presented by WestWords and Varuna. Supported by the Blue Mountains Library & Cultural Centre.

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.

Rawah Arja (Australian)

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Born and raised in Punchbowl, Rawah studied a Masters of Teaching at Western Sydney University and is currently a primary school teacher. Her passion is to write authentic stories that give diverse groups a voice and a sense of belonging and to explore the Muslim identity.

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.