Female Poets Storm National Slam
Australia's largest performing writer's festival Story-Fest has wrapped up for 2016, with Melbourne-based poet Arielle Cottingham taking home the national title of the Australian Poetry Slam (APS) at the Sydney Opera House this weekend.
Australia's largest performing writer's festival Story-Fest has wrapped up for 2016, with Melbourne-based poet Arielle Cottingham taking home the national title of the Australian Poetry Slam (APS) at the Sydney Opera House this weekend. The 4th annual Story Fest has seen a jam-packed three days of live literary mayhem in Sydney, with 1,200 visitors enjoying performances, screenings, panel discussions, wordshops, a youth program and much more throughout the Festival's three locations "“ Sydney Opera House, Sydney Dance Lounge (Walsh Bay) and The Story-Fest Hub in The Rocks. Cottingham delivered the winning performance to standing ovation at a packed Sydney Opera House, stunning the audience with her pieces exploring womanhood, whiteness, identity and religion; unpacking experiences as a queer mixed person raised in the Catholic Church. The 23-year old, originally from Texas, and has only been involved with poetry slam for two years, first competing at Melbourne's Slamalamadingdong in 2014. Since then, Cottingham has captivated audiences with her poetry ranging from raw vulnerability to provocative politics, and has recently become a creative producer for Slamalamadingdong. Cottingham won an impressive prize pool including an Asia-Pacific tour worth $11k+, where she will represent APS at various international poetry slams, a published manuscript, a Bundanon writer's retreat in the Southern Highlands, and the glory of being Australia's mightiest wordsmith. Selected members from the audience chose the winner, who narrowly beat runner-up Anisa Nandaula, an 18-year old Ugandan poet, and 19-year old West Australian finalist Luka Buchanan, who placed third. There were no men in the final round of 5. There were 4 women and one non-binary identified poet. Sunday night's final saw the conclusion of Australian Poetry Slam 2016, which has seen over 1,000 poets perform in front of 20,000 live audience members at 60 events across Australia this year.