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Michael Mohammed Ahmad Michael Mohammed Ahmad i(A118218 works by)
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Writer, editor, and community arts worker in Western Sydney.

He has been the writing coordinator at Bankstown Youth Development Service and editor of Westside. He is both founder and director of Sweatshop, a literacy movement based in Western Sydney, which provides training and employment in creative and critical writing initiatives for people from culturally and liguistically diverse backgrounds. His work in community cultural development won him the Australia Council Kirk Robson Award in 2012. An account of Ahmad's work with Sweatshop was published by Omar J. Sakr in 'Literary Collective Director Michael Mohammed Ahmad'.

His debut novel, The Tribe, was published in 2014, and attempted to step beyond limited and simplistic images of Arab-Australian Muslims enforced by media reports. The novel, which Ahmad notes draws from traditional Arab oral storytelling, was adapted into a play for a single performer in 2015. His second novel, The Lebs, was published in February 2018.

Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2016 recipient Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships Literature Board Grants Literature Arts Projects For Individuals and Groups $39,000.00
2012 Kirk Robson Award

Awards for Works

Bad Writer Sydney Review of Books , October The Best Australian Essays 2017 , 2016 single work essay

'Two years ago the British Centre for Literary Translation invited me to Anhui Province in China to participate as a guest author in their annual translation program. I was asked to facilitate a creative writing workshop with the English-speaking participants in the program which would follow on from a workshop run by Vietnamese-Australian author of The Boat, Nam Le. For two hours I watched patiently and quietly as Nam worked with twenty aspirational writers and translators who had come to China from all over the (Western) world, including Australia, the United States, Ireland, Scotland and England. Nam wrote six random words up on a chalkboard, ‘shoes’, ‘man’, ‘mountain’, ‘love’, ‘fear’ and ‘fingers’, and then he told the participants to each write a short story or poem using these six words. I was disappointed to hear the writers in the group read back the stories they wrote, which all followed the same thread: A man wandered a mountain in a pair of shoes, searching for love and afraid he would find it. It did not occur to even one of them that a mountain could be in love with a man or a shoe could be afraid of a finger, or more importantly, that the mountain, the man, the shoes and the finger could all have a specific identity. After all, we were in view of China’s Sacred Yellow Mountain and with so much diversity in the room, participants had dirt on their shoes and under their fingernails from places no one else in the group could have imagined. It was at this point that I realised the universality of bad writing: the bad writing that this international collective of writers produced was no different from the bad writing I had dealt with as a writer, editor, publisher and teacher in Western Sydney for over fifteen years.' (Introduction)

2017 shortlisted The Woollahra Digital Literary Award Non-Fiction
The Tribe 2014 selected work novella

'The Tribe is a collection of three novellas portraying significant aspects in the life of an extended Muslim Lebanese-Australian family with its roots in the suburb of Lakemba in Western Sydney.The first novella describes the family house, and the three generations who live, often in some discord, in its rooms; the second explores the marriage of the boy’s uncle, and the threatened appearance of an estranged branch of the family at the ceremony. The third rounds off the circle, describing the death of the family matriarch, the boy’s grandmother. Together they offer an intimate insight into a community negotiating the conflict between tradition and modernity, and the complex tribal affiliations of the extended family.' (Publisher's blurb)

2015 shortlisted Voss Literary Prize
2015 joint winner The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist of the Year
2015 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
2014 shortlisted The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
Last amended 27 Jun 2018 08:59:06
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