We are thrilled to be partnering once again with Sydney Writers Festival in 2017 with our event Transforming My Country.

Join contemporary Australian poets Hani Abdile, aj carruthers, Eileen Chong and Ali Cobby Eckermann, at Sydney Writers Festival, as they respond to classic Australian poem My Country (‘I Love A Sunburnt Country’) by Dorothea Mackellar with a new poem of their own, broadening the scope of what it means to live in Australia.

They will discuss their poems with Toby Fitch.

Saturday, May 27, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Telephone 02 9250 1988


Philharmonia Studio
Pier 4/5, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay
NSW 2000

Presented in conjunction with the Australian Poets Festival. 


Ali Cobby Eckermann was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize from Yale University in 2017. Ali presented at the WORD Festival in Christchurch NZ and an Australian Aesthetics Keynote at Berkeley in 2016. Inside My Mother is her latest collection of poems and published by Giramondo in 2015. In 2014 Ali was the first Aboriginal Australian author to attend the International Writing Program in Iowa USA and presented at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan India.


Hani Abdile is a writer and spoken word poet who fled the civil war in Somalia. She made her way to Australia by boat and spent 11 months on Christmas Island. While detained, Hani found healing in writing poetry. She is an honorary member of PEN, a lead writer for the Writing Through Fences group, and has received numerous awards for her community work and many achievements since being released from immigration detention. Her first book I Will Rise was published in 2016 to critical acclaim.

aj carruthers is an experimental poet and literary critic, author of Stave Sightings: Notational Experiments in North American Long Poems, 1961-2011 and the first volume of a lifelong long poem, AXIS Book 1. He is working on the  next installment of AXIS and a critical volume on avant-garde poetry in Australia.

Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet who was born in Singapore. Her books are Burning Rice, Peony and Painting Red Orchids. She was shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award 2012, as well as the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2013, and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2017. Another Language is forthcoming in 2017.


Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland and program director for the Australian Poets Festival and the Sappho Poetry Reading Series. His books include Rawshock, which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry 2012, Jerilderies and, most recently The Bloomin’ Notions of Other & Beau.