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Sat, 05 Sept


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Arab-Australian Authors Unite for Lebanon - Saturday Session

To raise funds for the victims of the Beirut explosion, some of Australia’s most celebrated authors, poets and academics of Lebanese and Arab backgrounds will come together for two nights of online discussions about the literature of the Arab diaspora.

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Arab-Australian Authors Unite for Lebanon - Saturday Session
Arab-Australian Authors Unite for Lebanon - Saturday Session

Time & Location

05 Sept 2020, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

See Zoom Link Below


About The Event

On 4 August 2020, a horrifying blast devastated Lebanon's capital, Beirut. To raise funds for the victims of the explosion, some of Australia’s most celebrated authors, poets and academics of Lebanese and Arab backgrounds will come together for two nights of online discussions about the literature of the Arab diaspora, and the vital role that Australia can play in supporting struggling communities from the Arab world.

This Saturday session, moderated by Dr Jumana Bayeh, features: Ghassan Hage, Amani Haydar, Omar Sakr, Sarah Ayoub, Ruby Hamad, and M M Morsi. 

100% of the ticket proceeds will be donated to Impact Lebanon, an NGO that provides disaster relief as well as activism resources for the Lebanese diaspora. You can read about the work of Impact Lebanon here:

This event is an initiative of Better Read Than Dead Bookshop and Sweatshop Writers Collective. 

Please note: the Friday and Saturday sessions have different Zoom meeting details and require separate registrations.

More about the Explosion

The Beirut explosion, blamed on 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port, sent a shockwave across the city that shattered windows and collapsed roofs. The death toll has now surpassed 200 victims, with over 5,000 people injured. The disaster has hit a nation already struggling with an economy on the brink of collapse, rising food prices and the global pandemic.

More about the Incredible Saturday Author Lineup

Jumana Bayeh is Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University, Australia. She has held research fellowships in Toronto, Edinburgh, and Beirut. She is the author of The Literature of the Lebanese Diaspora (I.B. Tauris 2015), has co-edited a journal special issue on Arabs in Australia and published on Arab diaspora fiction. Most recently, she co-edited a volume on the underexamined link between diaspora and democracy. She is currently working on two projects – a literary history of the nation in the Arab diaspora novel and an Australia Research Council-funded project called ‘Rioting and the Literary Archive’.

Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne. He has worked for many years on racism and white nationalism from a comparative perspective. His publications include his early work White Nation (1998) that deals with white supremacist fantasies in Australia, and his later work Is Racism an Environmental Threat? (2017) that deals with the commonalities between the colonial practices of racialisation and exploitation of people and the speciesist practices of exploitation of nature. His forthcoming works include Decay (Duke University Press, 2021) and The Diasporic Condition (University of Chicago Press, 2021).

Amani Haydar is a lawyer, artist and writer. She holds a BA in Communications and Law from the University of Technology, Sydney. Her writing and illustrations have been featured on ABC News Online, SBS Voices, Arab Australian Other and Sweatshop Women. Amani was a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize. She received the 2018 Australian Muslim Achievement Award for Creative Artist of the Year. Her debut novel, The Mother Wound, is forthcoming.

Omar Sakr is an award-winning Arab Australian poet, born of Lebanese and Turkish Muslim migrants. His debut collection, These Wild Houses (Cordite Books, 2017) was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize, and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. His most recent collection, The Lost Arabs (University of Queensland Press, 2019), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (2020), the John Bray Poetry Award (2020), and the Colin Roderick Award (2020). Omar’s poetry has been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, in numerous journals and anthologies including: The Academy of American Poets, Epiphany Literary Journal, Prairie Schooner, Griffith Review, Mizna, Overland, Meanjin, Peril, Cordite Poetry Review, Contemporary Australian Poetry, The New Arab, and Circulo de Poesía. Omar has performed his work nationally and internationally. He lives in Sydney.

Sarah Ayoub is a journalist and author whose work has been published in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, ELLE, Marie-Claire, SBS Voices, Cosmopolitan and more. She lectures in writing at the University of Notre Dame, where she is a PhD candidate researching the representations of culturally diverse women in Australian YA literature. Sarah is the author of Hate is Such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee, the latter of which was longlisted for The Gold Inky, Australia's premier teen choice award. She is a regular fixture at schools and writer's festivals around the country, works as a Stella Schools Ambassador with The Stella Prize, has mentored the youth curators of the Sydney Writer's Festival YA program, and most recently, contributed to the anthology Arab, Australian, Other: Stories of Race and Identity. Sarah's forthcoming novel, The Cult of Romance, is set in Lebanon and will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.

Ruby Hamad is an author, journalist and former Fairfax Media columnist. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Prospect Magazine, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and more. She is a PhD candidate in media and postcolonial studies at the University of New South Wales. She was a contributor to Arab, Australian, Other. White Tears/Brown Scars is her first book.

Mohammed Massoud Morsi was born in Copenhagen in 1975 and promptly started a roving lifestyle, moving to Egypt with his Egyptian parents, then back to Denmark to further his schooling. He was drawn to writing from an early age and found his calling in places far beyond the news fronts, and into human wastelands––light years from the trodden tourist runs. Morsi spent almost two decades as a freelance journalist and photographer immersed in communities with forgotten people and conflicts around the world. He primarily worked for NGOs and published feature articles in Danish newspapers. Along the way, he also held a wide variety of jobs (airline programmer, forklift driver, fisherman, etc.) and expressed an entrepreneurial flair establishing a photographic academy in Copenhagen, building a school in a Phnom Penh slum, growing herbs guerrilla style and farming rabbits in Egypt. Morsi’s intimate images, whether from the edge of an AIDS hospital bed, from a rubbish dump with rubbish pickers in Cambodia, from the turmoil of the Gaza Strip or in South Lebanon, all reflect his deep sense of justice. Morsi’s life experiences have given him a rich matrix which looks to important questions, finding what is quintessentially human within much broader struggles. He is a natural storyteller with compelling authenticity and an exquisite feeling for romance, at once sensitive and earthy. Morsi’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Australian and international publications. He has authored three novels and five non-fiction books. He lived in Europe, Africa and Asia before taking up residence in Australia in 2011. Now a citizen, he continues his writing and lives in Perth with his son, Zaki.


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