Word Travels’ Story-Fest has crowned Melanie Mununggurr-Williams from Darwin, as champion of the Australian Poetry Slam National Final, after she dropped her stunning slam on Aboriginal identity at the Sydney Opera House. Coming in second place was Anna Stewart from Hobart, and third place went to Fable Goldsmith from Perth.
In her first round performance, Melanie brought the house down with her slam on social injustices toward Aboriginal Australians, and “being born with two strikes against us from the very beginning, while white boys with privilege are already winning – it’s a race none of us signed up for.” In the final round, she won audiences over with a poem on breaking free of her inner demons, and the complexities of being “caught between a Western white man’s world, and ancient Aboriginal antiquity.”
“I watch slam poetry on YouTube all the time, so to actually be named champion… I’m lost for words!” Melanie said. “I’m really looking forward to being able to shed light on Indigenous Australian issues, especially what Aboriginal women and children are going through in Australia today. I don’t think the world knows enough about us… It feels amazing to be given the opportunity to go to other countries now and say: this is Aboriginal Australia, I am a proud Aboriginal woman.”
Originally hailing from northern Arnhem Land, Melanie’s win was met with a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience. She will now join the International Writers’ Festival tour to the Canadian Banff Art Centre, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Montreal Blue Metropolis Festival, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Singapore Writers Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival in 2019.
Miles Merrill, Creative Director of Word Travels praised Melanie’s performance. “The crowd absolutely loved Melanie’s slams tonight, for their crucial insight into Aboriginal identity delivered with such passion and poise. We can’t wait to bring her to some of the most prestigious writer’s festivals in the world, to present her incredible poetry to thousands of new audiences.”
Readers also enjoyed our story about experimental artist Hannah Bronte.