Australian Poetry Slam 2018

Hawkesbury writers are invited to speak, scream, howl, whisper, or even sing their words at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor on Saturday, 18 August, as part of Australian Poetry Slam 2018.

Zohab1-high-res.jpgAccording to Gallery Director, Kath von Witt, writers are given a microphone, a live audience and just two minutes to impress the judges with their original poetry, hip hop, stories…whatever they do with words. The judges will be randomly chosen from the crowd.

Three writers from the Hawkesbury Poetry Slam will be chosen to perform at the Western Sydney Final, from which two will then go on to the NSW State Final in Sydney in mid-October. Two finalists from each State and Territory will then head to the Australian Poetry Slam National Final the following day.

The ultimate prize is an international tour worth $10,000 in 2019, when the Australian Poetry Slam Champion performs at Byron Writers’ Festival, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Singapore Writers Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival. They will also be published by Pitt Street Poetry, and receive a residency in the NSW Southern Highlands with Bundanon Trust.

Regardless of age, location, cultural background or education, everyone can TELL their story, explained Miles Merrill, Creative Director of Word Travels, the organisation running the event.

“I love hearing neighbours walk up to each other afterward and say, ‘I’ve never heard you speak like that before’.”

To give everyone the chance to fine tune their ideas and work up their act, the Slam also provides a workshop before the event, led by Zohab Zee Khan, Australian Poetry Slam Champion in 2014 and a finalist in the International Poetry Slam in Madrid in 2017.

It is expected that more than 1000 spoken word artists will perform in over 50 heats, for an audience of over 20,000 across the Asia-Pacific, from small towns to major cities, libraries to street parties, Sydney to Singapore, Wellington to Windsor. Anyone can participate – in 2017 the winner was a twelve year old, Solli Raphael, from Coffs Harbour.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett would love to think that the next Australian Poetry Slam Champion could be a Hawkesbury resident.

“I’m sure our spoken wordsmiths are as good as anyone out there, and this is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate and experience a fantastic new kind of poetry… one that combines writing skills with being willing to stand up and have a go, cheered on by friends and family,” the Mayor said.

“It’s a real plus that it’s open to all ages.”

If you’re ready to ‘ignite the mic’ yourself, or a keen punter happy to cheer the others on – who may even become a random judge, come along to Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor on Saturday, 18 August.

The preparatory workshop will be held from 3pm to 5pm, and the Slam itself kicks off at 6pm. For more information call Kath von Witt on 4560 4440 or email

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