Verse & Voice: A Poetry and Spoken Word Festival

Saturday 14 March 2015, 10:00am – 6:30pm

NSW Writers’ Centre, Callan Park Rozelle NSW

For the first time, the NSW Writers’ Centre presents Voice & Verse: A Poetry and Spoken Word Festival this March. Approaching poetry and performance from multiple angles, this festival focuses on the diversity of activity within the poetry field including slam poets, rappers, singer-songwriters, micropoets, publishers, activists, text artists and more.

Festival directors Fiona Wright and Miles Merrill come from opposite ends of the poetry spectrum – Fiona from the publishing world, Miles from the spoken word scene. Though these areas rarely mix, Fiona and Miles have shared their contacts to collaborate on a festival that will showcase diversity, not difference. Almost every session features poets from multiple spheres of poetry – and there are practical panels on publishing, editing, and producing, alongside those that talk about ideas, works, and content.

Featuring Omar Musa, Judith Beveridge, Darren Hanlon, Tug Dumbly, Kate Middleton, Candy Royalle, Richard Tipping, Steven Herrick, Kid Solo, Susan Sleepwriter, Pip Smithand many more, Verse & Voice will stimulate you and expand your ideas of what poetry can be.

For the full program, click here.

To purchase tickets, click here.


Elizabeth Allen is a poet and short story writer based in Sydney. She is the events manager at Gleebooks and associate publisher at Vagabond Press. She is the author of Forgetful Hands (Vagabond Press, 2005) and Body Language (Vagabond Press, 2012), which won the Anne Elder Award.




Richard James Allen’s 10 books include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger), Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), and Performing the Unnameable: An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts (Currency Press/RealTime), edited with Karen Pearlman.  His artistic directorships include: That Was Fast, Tasdance, The Poets Union and currently The Physical TV Company:




Judith Beveridge is the author of The Domesticity of Giraffes, Accidental Grace, Wolf Notes, Storm and Honey and most recently Devadatta’s Poems and Hook and Eye: a selection of poems. She is the poetry editor for Meanjin and teaches poetry writing at postgraduate level at the University of Sydney.




Luke Carman is the Associate Director of Sweatshop, and a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Sydney exploring the role of shame in configurations of Australian white male subjectivity. He has worked as a lecturer and unit coordinator for the University of Western Sydney and with hundreds of students from local high schools as a writing workshop facilitator. His first book, An Elegant Young Man, was published by Giramondo.




Louise Carter’s poetry has appeared in Best Australian Poems 2012WesterlyCordite Poetry Review and Meanjin. She is a member of the Writing & Society Research Centre at UWS, where she is currently undertaking a Doctor of Creative Arts. The focus of her research project is the poetry of Luke Davies.




Tug Dumbly has performed his poems, songs and monologues for years on radio (Triple J, ABC 702) and at numerous venues and festivals, both in Australia and abroad. He has released two CDs of spoken word and twice won the Banjo Paterson Prize for comic verse. He performs widely in schools, and his passions include folk music and cicadas.





Toby Fitch is the author of Rawshock (Puncher & Wattmann 2012), which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry, and Jerilderies (Vagabond Press 2014). He lives in Sydney, where he is currently writing a book of inversions.


Elena Gomez is an editor and poet who lives in Sydney. She co-hosts the occasional apartment poetry series, CELL, and co-edits SUS press. She is the author of two chapbooks, CHILL FLAKES (SUS press) and PER, a collaborative work with Eddie Hopely (Make Now Books). Her work can also be found online, at The Claudius App and Cordite.




Darren Hanlon is an Australian singer/songwriter who plays urban folk music.  He runs his own label, Flippin’ Yeah Industries, and has released five solo albums, the latest of which Where Did You Come From? was recorded on a rambling adventure through the American South. Darren is known for his engagement with audiences, down-to-earth storytelling and charming lyrics.





Steven Herrick is the author of 21 books for children and young adults. He has twice won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and has made a living from poetry for the past 25 years.





Timothy Jones is the current general manager/artistic director of the Seymour Centre, Sydney, a position he has held since January 2009. In addition to his arts management experience, he has directed numerous plays and spent time as a professional actor.





Linsay Knight is widely respected as a leading expert in, and contributor to, children’s literature in Australia. As the former head of children’s books at Random House Australia, she nurtured the talent of numerous authors and illustrators. Linsay is also passionate about poetry and in 2012 she and her husband, John, launched the dynamic poetry imprint Pitt Street Poetry. Since then many of the poets on their list have won awards for their work, including the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry.


Ruark Lewis is a language artist, curator and performer. He works across a variety of cross-cultural and cross-art form approaches for exhibition, performance and public art.


Straight outta Bankstown, Yasmine Lewis began writing poetry after becoming frustrated with the decisions being made by her country’s leaders. Since then, Yasmine has performed at various advocacy events interstate and was a state finalist in the 2014 Australian Poetry Slam. She’s also a law student, volunteer leader and student ambassador.





Sara Mansour is a fifth year psychology/law student from south-west Sydney who, in February of 2013, co-founded the Bankstown Poetry Slam. She writes about everything from love, to religion, to taboo subjects in the Lebanese community. She published two pieces in the Bankstown slam anthology recently, and describes her poetry as “raw”. Her goal is to use spoken word as a platform to send messages to both her community and the wider community about social issues that concern her.


Greg McLaren is a Sydney-based poet who grew up in the Hunter Valley. He is the author of The Kurri Kurri Book of the Dead (Puncher & Wattmann), After Han Shan (Flying Islands/ASM), and the forthcoming Australian Ravens (Puncher & Wattmann).


Miles Merrill is a writer, performer, facilitator and event coordinator who combines poetry with theatre, experimental audio, hip-hop beats, stand-up and, occasionally, political confrontation. He is the creative director of Word Travels and founder of Australian Poetry Slam.




Kate Middleton is the author of Fire Season (Giramondo, 2009), awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry in 2009, and Ephemeral Waters (Giramondo, 2013), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s award in 2014. From September 2011-September 2012 she was the inaugural Sydney City Poet.





Shani Moffat has been the General Manager of Word Travels since early 2013. She has spent nearly a decade working in communications, strategy and stakeholder management in the arts. Highlights include managerial roles in Sydney Roller Derby League, Umbrella Theatre Company, Sydney Opera House and C Venues (Edinburgh Fringe Festival).


Lorna Munro is a proud young Wiradjuri/ Gamilaroi woman. This dynamic and upcoming writer and poet calls the Redfern/Waterloo area home.  She has performed in plays, exhibited artwork, and has just finished recording an EP called Paperbark and Gravel, a collaboration with Eric Avery.


Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, NSW. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including Parang), appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing  ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. He is currently working on a play, Bonegatherer. His debut novel Here Come the Dogs was published by Penguin Australia in 2014.




David Musgrave founded Puncher & Wattmann, a leading independent publisher, in 2004. They have published over 100 books. David is also a poet, novelist and critic.


Felicity Pickering is an emerging playwright and writer. In 2013 she completed her honours thesis exploring identity performance in the Australasian slam poetry movement, receiving first class honours. She’s been published in the UTS Writers’ Anthology, the Stonesthrow Review, Promise (A Penguin Special) and Bite Me (ATYP Monologue Collection). Felicity has had three plays produced: The Banquet (2011), Neighbours (2012) and Layover (2014).



Poet and performer Candy Royalle shares confronting, political, human and heart wrenching narratives delivered in her own inimitable style to audiences all over Australia and the world, seeking to take poetry off the page and into non-traditional spaces. She is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations.




Richard Short is Storyteller in Chief at The Sydney Story Factory, where he has created and led free writing workshops for thousands of students from all over NSW. He writes as Rico Craig and has published poetry and prose in numerous journals around the place.




Susan Sleepwriter writes micropoetry on Twitter and reads at spoken word and poetry events around Sydney. She also writes short stories and long poems.





Pip Smith ran the monthly short fiction night Penguin Plays Rough, and edited the group’s first book The Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories, launched at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2011. Her first collection of poetry Too Close for Comfort won the inaugural Helen Ann Bell Poetry Award in 2013. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Sydney.


Kid Solo has released 3 albums on acclaimed local label Elefant Traks as one half of hip hop duo Horrorshow, most recently King Amongst Many (2013) which garnered various awards and nominations. He has sold out tours and appearances at major musical festivals around the country and has supported acts such as the Hilltop Hoods and Bliss n Eso.


Richard Tipping has a doctorate on ‘Word Art Works’ from the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts for many years at the University of Newcastle. He has published five books of poetry and held over 20 solo exhibitions of textual objects in Australia, Europe and the USA. His artpoem signs are available in gallery shops internationally, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art.




Alex Wasiel is a comedian, writer and performer. She is also a media lawyer, self-proclaimed raconteur and consummate dinner party guest.





Miriam Wells has been with Grand Parade Poets since it was founded by Alan Wearne in 2011. Miriam holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts with a double major in creative writing and performance from the University of Wollongong, where she has also worked as a research assistant, lecturer and tutor in creative writing theory, design/art history and dramaturgy. Miriam also works as a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant for health, education and lifestyle clients.


 Fiona Wright is a doctoral candidate with the University of Western Sydney Writing & Society Research Centre. Her poetry collection Knuckled (2011) won the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for a first collection in 2012.





Jessica L. Wilkinson has published two poetic works, marionette: a biography of miss marion davies (2012) and Suite for Percy Grainger: a biography (2014), both with Vagabond Press. She is founding editor of Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry.






Bryce Youngman is the artistic director of Poetry in Action, a performance company that focuses on poetry as a performance medium.


Jakob Ziguras has published in leading Australian journals. He has been shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and won the David Harold Tribe Poetry Award and the Harri Jones Memorial Prize in Poetry. His debut collection, Chains of Snow, is published by Pitt Street Poetry.


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