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Writing Through Fences (opening for APS National Final)

  • Sydney Opera House, Drama Theatre Bennelong Point Sydney, NSW, 2000 Australia (map)

Writing Through Fences

Word Travels Story Fest presents a collaboration with Writing Through Fences at Sydney Opera House

What if you had walk from Dubbo to Wollongong with your children then jump on a boat to save your family?

Australian Poetry Slam – National Final features three performances and a discussion with writers who have fled their countries to come to Australia. People trapped in incredible circumstances who have found the greatest liberation through their own creativity.

They have transformed their hardship into powerful stories and poems told with passion, vulnerability and raw authenticity.

From 13 months on an island called Christmas to escapes from certain death, the real life adventures of people who now call Australia “home”.

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Hani Abdile

Hani is a young Somali writer. She writes poetry and prose and previously wrote and published a small newspaper called CC Weekly. Her work is vibrant and her spirit strong. Hani wrote from detention where she was held for 13 months until mid 2014.

Hani is a lead member of the writing group Writing Through Fences. She now runs The Arrivalists a weekly poetry night in Newtown. She has performed for several major events and will publish her first book later this year. She is an honorary member of PEN International.


Kaveh was born in Ward 209, the political prisoner’s ward of Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran to parents who were part of the Iranian Tudeh Party resistance movement who were serving a combined total of 14 years post revolution.

He was raised in Evin prison until nine months old until he was relinquished to adoptee parents, who were his aunty and her husband. He grew up thinking that his adoptee parents were his actual mother and father – and visited his biological parents in prison believing they were his aunty and uncle. Following the 1988 prison massacres, his biological parents were released.

They crossed the border with Kaveh into Turkey in late 1993 and became refugees and were stateless for one and half years in Turkey until they were accepted as refugees and migrated to Australia, arriving in April 1995.

Poetry is a huge part of Kaveh’s life. He uses his personal experiences to speak to those who may not have the insight of a firsthand witness, or to witnesses who do not have a platform to voice themselves.

Yarrie Bangura

Yarrie was born in Sierra Leone, and fled to Guinea with her family. In 2004 her family settled in Australia, where she amnow studying International Development at the Australian Catholic University.

Yarrie Bangura is a writer, performer, musician, visual artist, textile designer and public speaker. She most recently was a performer and writer in The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe which was presented at Belvoir and Riverside in 2013 and in 2015 at the Southbank Centre, London; Nottingham Playhouse, UK and Sydney Opera House. Yarrie is one half of the band Sierra Sisters who's music has been featured on several commercials and Triple J Unearthed. She has been a member of the Sierra Leone Cultural Performance Dance Group since 2006 performing at events around Sydney. Yarrie writes poetry, short stories, autobiographical work and plays. She is currently a Special Youth Representative for Australia for UNHCR.