At 12 years of age, Solli Raphael was crowned the youngest ever Australian Poetry Slam champion in an all-adult annual competition held at the Sydney Opera House in 2017. Having since performed on stages such as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in front of a live audience of 35,000 people and at TEDxSydney, and on TV shows such as The Project, ABC Me and ABC Breakfast, Solli believes that words can empower their audience.
Now 14, Solli continues to use the platforms of performing and writing to tackle current social issues – big and small and enjoys writing powerful and emotive poetry based on the world around him in the hope to create positive change. Successfully publishing his first book, Limelight, with a second book on the way, Solli would like to encourage his generation to participate in conversations about issues that affect their lives and their future.
Omar Sakr is a bisexual Arab-Australian poet. His debut collection, These Wild Houses (2017), was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize. His poetry has been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, in numerous journals and anthologies. He placed runner-up in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and has also been shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize, the Story Wine Prize, and the Fair Australia Poetry Prize. Omar has performed his work nationally and internationally.
Melanie Mununggurr-Williams is the 2018 Australian Poetry Slam Champion.
Melanie is a Djapu writer from Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land. She is one of about 4600 speakers of Yolnu-Matha. Her first poetry book will be published by Penguin in 2020.
Melanie recently toured North America including Banff Art Centre, Blue Metroplois Festival, Montreal and the Nuyorican Poets Café.
In 2019, Melanie will be a Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence and will tour to festivals in Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne, Ubud, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Melanie spent the last decade working with families and children involved with juvenile justice. She works as a mentor for young Indigenous women in programs across the Northern Territory. Other publications include “Grey” a short story in the anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia in 2018.