The Bankstown Poetry Slam has taken out the inaugural Pemulwuy Prize, presented by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, in front of 500+ delegates at Parramatta at Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s “Out There” Summit.
Named after the famous Indigenous warrior and leader, the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue created The Pemulwuy Prize to honour a leading citizen, or group, who has made an outstanding contribution to the region. The winner was selected by the Dialogue’s Board of Patrons, and is one of six finalists who were category winners in the Western Sydney Leadership Prize.
The Bankstown Poetry Slam is a not-for-profit community organisation that was founded by Western Sydney University students, Ahmad Al Rady and Sara Mansour, in 2013, giving voice to many young poets and performers in Western Sydney.
Held at the Bankstown Arts Centre, the Slam is recognised as one of the most successful of its kind in Australia, regularly attracting over 300 people each month. It has published selected works and its regular poets now feature in other events across the country. In 2015, supported by WSU and Arab Bank, the BSP staged the inaugural Poetry Slam Olympics for its best talent, drawing a sell-out crowd at the Art Gallery of NSW and featuring on ABC TV.
“Ahmad, Sara and their band of volunteers, activists and poets are giving voice to young people across Western Sydney who would otherwise struggle to be heard. Bankstown Poetry Slam is a vivid example of the talent in this region, of its community spirit and its social inclusion. It is a very worthy winner of the inaugural Pemulwuy Prize, reflecting the Slam’s role as a fearless advocate for Western Sydney,” Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Christopher Brown said.
To become a finalist for the Pemulwuy Prize, Bankstown Poetry Slam initially won the Western Sydney Leadership Prize for “Community Engagement”, beating a stacked field of Leadership Prize winners in five other categories: