Story Fest Artists

Story Fest Artists

Abe Nouk

Abe is a spoken-word poet, hip hop fanatic, MC and author. Ten years ago Abe was illiterate when he and his family arrived in Australia as refugees from Sudan.

Since 2011, realising his illiteracy, he began reading and writing to improve his lyrical content for hip hop music. 

Abe went on to come third in the Australian National Poetry Slam and has published two poetry collections, ‘Humble’ and 'Dear Child'.

“Our scream for justice as kids in want of ice-cream was not heard, but the sound of love is at the tip of your pen provide the world with it.”

Gloria Demillo

Gloria Demillo is a poet, student and owl collector. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Sociology and Anthropology and Creative Writing.

Gloria was introduced to slam poetry a few years ago and has since featured at numerous poetry events throughout Sydney. She was a NSW finalist for Australian Poetry Slam 2014. She runs the Poetry Slam Club at the University of New South Wales. Her writing has been published in UNSWeetened Literary Journal 2014, with her short story winning highly commended fiction, and in the Bankstown Poetry Slam’s 2014 Anthology, ‘On Second Thought’.

Gloria enjoys the simple things in life such as riding on bus routes for the first time, and smelling old books.

Hani Aden

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 Arya

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.

Miles Merrill

Originally from Chicago (birthplace of slams), Miles is a writer, performer, facilitator and event coordinator who combines poetry with theatre, experimental audio, hip-hop beats, stand-up and, occasionally, political confrontation. Miles introduced poetry slam to Australia, co-wrote and co-directed Slamming for the Sydney Festival and performed with UK DJ Billy Bizniz at the Sydney Opera House. Internationally, Merrill has performed in Krakow’s Audio Art Festival, and writers festivals in Bali, Beijing, Vancouver and Calgary. He’s the ideas and meetings person.

Sunil Badami

Sunil Badami is a writer, performer and broadcaster. He has written for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, The Australian, The Monthly, The New Daily, The Australian Literary Review, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Southerly, Island and Meanjin. His work has been published in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.

He has appeared on stage at the Sydney and Melbourne Writers’ Festivals and the Belvoir Street and Griffin Theatres. He presented the national ABC Local Radio show Sunday Takeaway, and continues to present from time to time on ABC Radio, Radio National and Double J. He’s currently re-writing his first novel.

Vanessa Caspersz

Vanessa Caspersz is a musician and beatboxer from the Blue Mountains. Vanessa discovered beatboxing while living in London and was trained by Shlomo and Dana McKeon. She has beatboxed for the London Contemporary Voices choir, Electric Choir Hustle and earlier this year toured with Tuka from Thundamentals. Vanessa has studied voice at NIDA, and is currently studying a bachelor of Speech Hearing and Language Sciences, and Music. She has competed in both the UK and Australian Beatbox Championships.

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.

Zohab Zee Khan

Zohab Zee Khan is the current Australian Poetry Slam Champion, didgeridoo player, harmonica beat-boxer and hip-hop artist. Zohab has toured Asia, The Middle-East and Europe to sell out crowds. In 2014 Zohab was a finalist in the International Poetry Slam in Madrid, Spain. He is the founding director of Walking Words, an organisation that aims to inspire a new generation of leaders through performance-based workshops. Zohab’s first collection of poetry will be released in Early 2015.