Omar Musa was born to Australian arts journalist Helen Musa and Malaysian poet Musa bin Masran. He undertook part of his education in California, USA where he was strongly influenced by hip hop music, which he has continued to combine with poetry throughout his work.
In 2007, Musa won the British Council's Realise Your Dream award. He has also performed strongly in poetry slam competitions: he was runner up in the 2008 Australian Poetry Slam, winner in 2009, and winner of the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam in 2010.
In 2009, he self-published The Clocks, a collection of poetry based on his travel experiences. He has subsequently released two additional volumes of poetry: Parang (2013) and Millefiori (2017). Parang, like The Clocks, was self-published, while Millefiori was published by Penguin Random House.
In 2014, Musa published Here Come the Dogs, the story of three young men at a loose end in suburban Australia. The novel, Musa's debut, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writer, the Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, and the Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction. In 2015, it saw him named as one of Australia's Best Young Novelists.
In addition to works individually indexed on AustLit, he has also released three solo hip hop albums: World Goes to Pieces, The Year of the MoneyKat, and Dead Centre.
In 2017, Musa was listed as one of the script-writers for Geoffrey Wright's forthcoming television remake of Romper Stomper.
2009winnerCanberra Critics Circle Awards—WritingFor an excellent 12 months in which he won the Australian Poetry Slam at the Sydney Opera House, published a book, The Clocks, released his first album, The Massive EP, and recorded his second album.
'In small-town suburban Australia, three young men from three different ethnic backgrounds--one Samoan, one Macedonian, one not sure--are ready to make their mark. Solomon is all charisma, authority, and charm, a failed basketball player down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family, and his homeland and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line? Solomon, Jimmy, and Aleks are way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip hop, basketball, and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women, and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it'll take is a spark. As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it's not what they were waiting for. It never is.'