Chad Kolcze - Byron Bay

Chad Kolcze - Byron Bay

I was born a dyslexic middle child of the 70′s. As you could imagine, this had its challenges. However, like Richard Branson, the fall back was a heightened right brain that accelerated creative thinking, triggered determination and inspired entrepreneurial talents. After a successful career as a professional snowboarder and surfer in younger years, I now enjoy sharing an creative-active life with the younger generation. Whether this is my own kids, the boy i mentor or any number of kids i teach. 

The idea of inspiring kids to DREAM BIG and live a healthy active lifestyle is why i now exist. Believing in the power of positive role modelling, i strive hard to walk my talk and live an authentic lifestyle.  As the publisher and author ofActiveKidsBooks.com, i have developed a prominent career in and outside of children’s literacy. Now also, as an motivational speaker for children, school teacher and director of an amazing charity - The Uncle Project.  I lead a life thats diverse and interesting. This has all been thanks to a background as an dyslexic kid, growing up in Papua New Guinea with an immigrant father. 

Tug Dumbly - Byron Bay

Tug Dumbly - Byron Bay

“Tug Dumbly is a phenomenon. He is a masterful performer and an excellent communicator with a vigour for spoken word that electrifies the room” – The Scotsman (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) Tug is best known for his work on ABC radio. He started by spraying poems and rants on Triple J’s Brekky Show, and can currently be heard delivering his weekly take on news and current affairs in The Tug Report, on the ABC’s Local Radio Network. Tug is perhaps Australia’s most highly broadcast and recognized performance poet (admittedly not a difficult feat) and has gained a committed following of dozens through performing his satirical poems, songs and comic monologues at lots of venues and festivals, both nationally and abroad, including New York, Montreal, London, Edinburgh and Glebe. He has released two mildly acclaimed spoken-word CDs through the ABC - Junk Culture Lullabies and Idiom Savant - and twice won the Banjo Paterson Prize for comic verse, once for his 8000 word epic ode to meat Barbeque Bill and the Roadkill Café.

Eden Riley - Glebe

Eden Riley - Glebe

Sara Salehh - Glebe

Sara Salehh - Glebe

Sara Saleh is a human rights and refugee campaigner, grassroots activist & creative artist. Sara has almost a decade’s experience working with various NGOs including Amnesty International Australia, which has taken her from the UN in New York to the refugee camps of Lebanon and Palestine.

At the age of 22 she co-founded longstanding grassroots initiatives including JAAN (Justice and Arts Network), which served as a platform to mentor and enrich young refugees and migrants in different skills.

Sara speaks and writes on human rights, refugees, Palestine, and the politics of language and identity, and has been published widely across national media. Her belief in the power of storytelling as resistance and as healing has taken her from working with refugees, to performing her poetry and songs nationally and internationally. She has featured at Bankstown Poetry Slam (Australia’s largest slam); and internationally in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and most recently, the iconic Nyorican Poets café in New York.

Several of her pieces have been published in the 2013 BPS Poetry Anthology “The Last Conversation”, and the 2014 edition, “On Second Thought.” 

In 2015, Sara co-founded the hugely popular Dubai Poetry Slam and began co-organising the The Dirty Thirty online poetry platform.

A recent Masters of Human Rights Law graduate, Sara spends her nights volunteering, and working on her new social enterprise, ReBOOKS, dedicated to improving refugee literacy in Australia.

Elizabeth Dakash - Wild Card

Elizabeth Dakash - Wild Card

Elizabeth Dakash is a law student who has fallen in love with spoken word poetry ever since her first experience at the Bankstown Poetry Slam last year. She explores the political, philosophical and personal; addressing injustices and highlighting the beauty of humanity brought together through poetry. Elizabeth is the winner of the 2014 Amnesty International Poetry Slam and 2015 Multilingual Poetry Slam.

Anthony Hanna - Granville

Anthony Hanna - Granville

Lewis-Alan Trathen - Granville

Lewis-Alan Trathen - Granville

Lewis-Alan is a poet and spoken word performer from Sydney, Australia. He is currently studying English Literature at the University of New South Whales and is well aware of his employment opportunities or lack thereof thank you very much. When not buried under conspicuous amounts of university work, Lewis-Alan enjoys long walks at night, deafening concerts and forgetting people’s names. His works explore natural and industrial landscapes, culture and existentialism, the grotesque, and language itself.  His debut chapbook Dear Green Eyes was released on the 17th of June and his poetry was most recently published in Unsweetened 2015.

Chris Fung - Hurstville

Chris Fung - Hurstville

Chris holds a BA in Performance Studies and Education from Sydney University, and is working to complete a B. Musical Theatre from the Queensland Conservatorium by November. In 2014, Chris toured in Opera Australia’s national production of ‘The King and I’, understudying and performing the role of ‘The King’ to 25 audiences. Next year, Chris hopes to enrol in and complete a Masters of Teaching, with the intention of becoming a Secondary Drama and Music teacher. Chris largely writes feature articles for AussieTheatre.com, and spoken word performance pieces for his wife, who he hopes to continually distract from the reality that she could have done so much better than he. The APS marks the first time Chris has performed his writing in public.

These days, Chris is fortunate to spend much of his time being an actor, which is the polite way of saying that he goes to a lot of auditions, does a great deal of reading and is incredibly poor. Chris recently won an engagement in Luna Park’s newest attraction - The Mystery Mansion, a free-to-explore Haunted House, where he will be patiently lurking in the silence, waiting for the right moment to MAKE YOUR ACQUAINTANCE.

Troy Wong - Hurstville

Troy Wong - Hurstville

Troy Wong is an English teacher by day and spoken word poet by night. Since his first performance in November 2013 he has been a regular in the Sydney spoken word circuit. He was a NSW state finalist in the 2014 Australian Poetry Slam and is a state finalist once again this year. Other performance credits include feature sets at Newtown Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival, Little Features, Creative Conversations, That Time of the Month, and Three Poets Speak. Off stage, he has co-hosted the monthly Mars Hill Slam, and conducted honours research on using spoken word to develop high school students' critical literacy.

Ivan Radix - Katoomba

Ivan Radix - Katoomba

Ivan is a spoken word and performance poet who has performed in venues both nationally and internationally.

Ivan is a spoken word and performance poet who has performed in venues across the US, Australia and Japan. His works a melting pot of his experiences, deeply rooted in a childhood, steeped in culture, ritual, mythology and the history of slavery.

Born on a small island in the Caribbean, Ivan moved to New York during the Civil Rights Movement, a period which influenced him greatly and empowered his beliefs, and continues to reflect in his poetry today. Ivan has been writing poetry from his early teenage years, as a way of keeping alive the stories of his family and his culture. His continuous travels weave a tapestry of experiences and emotions, which reflect in his poetry. As the founder of the Tokyo Poetry Slam, Ivan has inspired others to carry out their passions through poetry and performance. Ivan delivers his imagery with intimate simplicity; his voice draws you in and invites you to explore the very heart of his poetry.

Peter Hines - Katoomba

Peter Hines - Katoomba

Peter Hines was born in Rushcutters Bay in the autumn of 1954. He was on a passenger ship bound for Java a few weeks later and grew up in Djakarta, Karachi, the Isle of Wight, Canberra, Melbourne, Bowral, Bangkok and Toronto.

In 1975, for reasons that seemed sufficient at the time, he decided that architecture was not his “thing”, and dropped out of UNSW in order to become a poet, a calling he has pursued more or less consistently since then, both privately and in public. He first performed a poem on stage in 1978 at the Son of Roxy, a long vanished venue on the corner of Crown and Oxford Streets, Darlinghurst.

Jobs, houses and situations came and went in the years that followed. Sydney, Adelaide, Copenhagen, the Blue Mountains, New Zealand. Decades passed. Eventually he came to rest in Katoomba, where he has lived quietly since 2007 in a house full of books.

By chance, coincidence, or fate this final house stands on the same street he lived on when he first droppped out to become a poet all those years ago. Only now he lives on the crest of the hill rather than at its base. Which is weird, right?

Bruce MacKenzie - Kempsey

Bruce MacKenzie - Kempsey

Bruce MacKenzie is a journalist for the ABC, based on the NSW north coast.

He is married to fellow slam poetry finalist Samantha Turnbull, who is both his biggest inspiration and greatest rival.

He is known throughout the ABC (in NSW at least) as ‘the guy who wrote that goat poem’.  This stems from his decision to file a story for theABC’s state-wide 7:45 morning radio news on the rescue of Cape Byron’s last remaining feral goat in rhyming verse. You may have heard a similar tale about a Greek boat builder?

Between stints in radio and TV Bruce also toured as a stand-up comic, although these days he prefers to sit back and laugh at and with his two children, aged five and two.

His motto is; “I’m just stoked I can write for a living”.

Samantha Turnbull - Kempsey

Samantha Turnbull - Kempsey

Samantha Turnbull is a multi-media journalist for the ABC, author of the five-book children’s series The Anti-Princess Club (Allen and Unwin), mummy blogger and slam poet.

She won the Byron Bay heat of the Australian Poetry Slam in 2014 and was the feature act in 2015. Because she was the feature act at her local heat, Sam travelled to the next closest town to compete in this year’s slam – Kempsey.

Sam writes most of her poetry about motherhood, feminism and popular culture.

She is inspired by strong female slam poets like Hollie McNish, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Eden Riley and Katie Makkai.

But Sam’s greatest inspiration comes from her two wild kids and her husband Bruce (also a slam poet and competitor in the NSW Finals).

Jo Wilson-Ridley - Wagga Wagga

Jo Wilson-Ridley - Wagga Wagga

Jo Wilson-Ridley has lived and worked in Rome, London, Edinburgh, New York State and Sydney.  After eleven years of country living in the Riverina, in a tiny town of 600 people she succeeded this year in relocating her family to a NSW town with a longer name near our Country’s Capital.

Her work has been published in five bells, fourW, Feast of Poetry and The Country Web and was thrilled this year to have her work selected in the Ekphrasis Poetry Competition and printed on a postcard.

She has been a NSW State Finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.  Jo took a gap year in 2014 to travel around Australia in a camper-trailer with her family a trip confirming her love of endless horizons, domed skies and dirt so red you taste pennies.

While her day job is to win the hearts and minds of road users to drive safe, in her spare time Jo’s been delighted to follow the AFL passions of her growing sons and learn how to yell from the sidelines pearls of wisdom like ‘Work the Corridor.’

Jo was honoured to have won the Wagga Slam Heat in 2015.

Zoe Beaumont - Wagga Wagga

Zoe Beaumont - Wagga Wagga

Phil Wilcox - Wollongong

Phil Wilcox - Wollongong

Philip Wilcox is many things: a lover of tropical fish, a primary school teacher in training, a playwright, a weekend children's entertainer (Batman mostly) and a performer of poetry.

With two successful plays written, produced and directed for the Sydney Fringe. Philip merges poetry and theatre in a way that tells the truth by wrapping it in lies, tricks and tall tales. He has featured at Mars Hill Poetry Slam, Art Party, Wollongong Poetry Slam, Boundless Plains, Pollie Slam and his own

Phoebe Carter-Swain - Newcastle Region

Phoebe Carter-Swain - Newcastle Region

From an early age Phoebe showed a talent for poetry - even before she could write. At the ripe old age of 5, a poem Phoebe dictated to her mum won a special commendation in an adult poetry competition. Phoebe was the youngest poet published in Animal Encounters (Catchfire Press) and also has been included in a number of Newcastle Poetry at the Pub anthologies.


Phoebe has performed as a poet, singer and musician at various events and venues, including The Royal Exchange Theatre, Newcastle Art Gallery, Maitland Art Gallery, Newcastle Poetry At The Pub and at Real Coffee Espresso Bar. She has read alongside award winning poets such as Jesse Brand, Abe Nouk, Judy Johnson, Meg Dunn, not to mention her mother and inspiration Gillian Swain.


Phoebe plays flute, creates fascinating visual art and has a deep love of animals and nature. Phoebe thoroughly enjoys the realm poetry offers to engage and entrance the audience through page and performance. Phoebe was born in Mullumbimby and was raised in Warners Bay and Maitland where she attended Linuwel, a Rudolph Steiner School.

Marie McMillan - Newcastle Region

Marie McMillan - Newcastle Region

Rebekah Wilson - Newcastle Region

Rebekah Wilson - Newcastle Region

Suzy Monzer - Newcastle Region

Suzy Monzer - Newcastle Region