All Events: Artist LAS 2023

Hani Abdile

Hani Abdile is a writer, student and spoken word poet based in the country of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, in Sydney. Hani was forced to leave her home country of Somalia and came to Australia seeking protection in 2014. During her 11 months in immigration detention, she found healing in poetry and developed a love for writing.

Her first book of 43 poems, ‘I will rise’, was published by Writing Through Fences in 2016 and explores how the power of our collective voices can help shape the world to be a better place, for the next generation.  She has performed her work around Sydney and interstate and continues to write for freedom and human rights.

Hani is an honorary member of PEN International, a lead member of Writing Through Fences, and an Ambassador for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).  Her work has appeared in ABC, SMH, Shark Island Productions and has received numerous awards for her community work and creative art.

Sasha Kutabah Sarago

Sasha Kutabah Sarago is a Wadjanbarra Yidinji, Jirrbal and African-American woman. A former model, Sasha grew frustrated by the invisibility of multicultural women in fashion and media. In 2011, she founded Ascension, Australia’s first digital lifestyle platform for women of colour. As a speaker, Sasha raises awareness around culture, diversity and equity in the business, media and lifestyle sectors. 

Sasha’s TEDx talk, ‘The (de)colonising of beauty’, was selected as 2021 Editor’s Choice and has fuelled her passion for redefining beauty and sparking conversations around femininity and womanhood from a First Nations woman’s perspective. As well as appearances on NITV Awaken ‘Black Is Beautiful’, SBS Insight ‘Growing Up Mixed Race’, and ABC TV’s The School That Tried to End Racism, Sasha has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, 10 Daily, Sydney Morning Herald, Frankie and Fashion Journal magazines. Her writing has been published in the Guardian and SBS Voices. Sasha has also written and directed the documentaries Too Pretty to Be Aboriginal and InsideOUT, which premiered at the Melbourne Women’s Film Festival in 2020. Her book ‘Gigorou’ is out now through Pantera.

Tim Baker

Tim Baker is an award-winning author and journalist specialising in surfing history and culture. 

He is the best-selling author of The Rip Curl Story, Occy, High Surf, Bustin’ Down The Door, Surf For Your Life, Century of Surf and Surfari.  He is a former editor of Tracks, Surfing Life and Slow Living magazines, and a two-time winner of the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Culture Award. 

 His latest book Patting The Shark documents his experience living with advanced prostate cancer.

 He has been nominated for the CUB Australian Sports Writing Awards and his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, the Bulletin, Inside Sport, GQ, as well as surfing magazines around the world.

Omid Tofighian

Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He is adjunct lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales; and honorary research fellow at Birkbeck Law, University of London. His publications include Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016); translation of Behrouz Boochani’s multi-award-winning autobiographical novel No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador 2018); co-editor of special issues for journals Literature and Aesthetics (2011), Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (2019) and Southerly (2021); and co-translator/co-editor of Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings of Behrouz Boochani (Bloomsbury 2023).

Jessie Cole

Jessie Cole is the author of four books. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim.

Jessie’s memoir, Staying, was released in 2018, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction & longlisted the Colin Roderick Award, with Tim Winton describing it as ‘a wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’

Her latest memoir, Desire, is out now.

Dr Sally Breen

Dr Sally Breen is an Australian writer, editor and academic. Author of the iconic grunge memoir The Casuals (2011) winner of the Varuna Harper Collins Manuscript Prize and Atomic City (2013) shortlisted for the QLD Premiers People’s Choice Book of the Year. Sally’s short form creative and non-fiction work has been published widely both nationally and internationally with major features in The Guardian London, Asia Literary Review, Griffith Review, The Age, Overland, Meanjin, The Australian, Best Australian Stories, Sydney Review of Books, Hemingway Shorts, Meniscus and TEXT. She is a regular contributor to The Conversation. Dr Breen is Executive Director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators the largest and longest running organisation of its kind in the Asia Pacific and Senior Lecturer in Writing and Publishing at Griffith University. Her most recent publications are ‘Don’t You Know You’ve Got Legs – A Gold Coast Surf Culture Manifesto’ in Lines to the Horizon out now with Fremantle Press and ‘Away from the Edge – On the Road Where Two Stories Meet’ in Griffith Review. Samples of her work can be viewed at @breensally

Mohammad Ali-Maleki

Mohammad Ali-Maleki is a tailor and prop-maker by trade. He spent seven years in detention in Manus Island for no reason other than requesting asylum, seeking safety away from his homeland of Iran. 

In 2016 Mohammad’s poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the impetus for, and first work published on, Verity La’s  Discoursing Diaspora project. It also appeared in Southerly’s Writing Through Fences – Archipelago of Letters. 

Writing Through Fences has also published two of his poems ‘The Strong Sunflower’ & ‘The Fox’ as small books illustrated by numerous artists.

His writing has been published by many online literary journals, and he has written a chapbook, Truth in the Cage (Verity La and Rochford Street Press, 2018). His poem ‘Brother’ was made into a poetic film by documentary filmmaker Siân Darling. Mohammad continues to create poetry, saying “You can find my whole life in my poems, like a letter to God.”

His latest exhibition ‘From the Land of Silence’, a series of canvas-printed poems by Mohammad Ali Maleki written during his time as a detainee on Manus Island just finished showing at the Queensland Multicultural Centre.

Jarrah Dundler

Jarrah Dundler was raised on Bundjalung country in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. His debut novel Hey Brother, about the challenges faced by a teenage boy when his brother returns from war in Afghanistan, was selected for a Byron Writers Festival Residential Mentorship, a Varuna fellowship and shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award. Jarrah has recently been working co-editing Fire Stories: Reflections from Northern Rivers locals on the 2019/2020 bushfires, and editing audio-narratives for the Fire Stories website.

Aunty Loretta Ethel Parsley

Aunty Loretta Ethel Parsley is a Walbunja Yuin Elder and custodian of country. She is a direct descendant of Jimmy and Ethel Governor and the Governor family historian. She is a prolific artist and storyteller. She is the creator of the work Blood On His Hands, Cleansed By Saltwater which is referenced in The Last Outlaws podcast animation.

Loretta is a knowledge holder of Aboriginal family history, a school teacher and director of her privately owned company Doolagarl Dreaming.

Loretta lives with her husband Trevor on Walbunja Yuin country.

Kaitlyn Sawrey

Kaitlyn Sawrey is an award-winning journalist and the host of ‘2022 Podcast of the Year’ winner The Last Outlaws and Who is Daniel Johns? for Spotify. Previously she co-founded Science Vs and was the Executive Producer of Hack on triple j.