The world’s best spoken word artists converge online for Story Week 2020

Wani-Le-Frere-Australian-Poetry-Slam-National-Finals-2019Running from Friday 6 November, the wildest wordsmiths from around the world will come together for Australia’s largest performing writer’s program, the 2020 Word Travels’ Story Week Festival.

This year’s program goes virtual and international, bringing together an electrifying line-up of literary talent from across Australia and the world for an action-packed week of wordsmithery.

The all-star lineup includes legendary American hip-hop poet reg e gaines, beat box champion Darian Dauchan and Inuit throat singers slash hip hop act Silla + Rise, who feature in the Festival’s largest international event series My Latest Epiphany – a daily lunchtime live show where musicians, poets and producers share their newest revelations.

2019 Canadian Poetry Slam champion Nisha Patel, joins five of the best Australian and Canadian spoken word artists for a special Edmonton Poetry Festival collaboration in Word for Word. Sydney poet Mel Ree teams up with hip hop artist Kween G and vogue troupe The Vogue Haus Silky for the first time in Answer Story (Tues 10 November), a powerful night of performance where artistic disciplines unite in activism.

To celebrate NAIDOC week, the Festival has drawn together powerful First Nations performers to share their stories and skills on the mic. In First Person Voice Indigenous artists from Australia and Canada throw their words and songs into the stream with four micro shows highlighting their flow, featuring DOBBY (AUS), Barkaa (AUS) and Cobra Collins (CAN).

“This year’s line-up is a handpicked selection of provocative writers, exploring themes of race, ancestry, identity and more,” said Miles Merrill, Creative Director of Story Week. “We’re living in strange times. The global pandemic has had a large impact on the lives of artists and people of colour in particular this will be something that audiences see explored in the many works presented during Story Week.”

The Festival culminates in the Australian Poetry Slam National Final – a spectacular showdown between the nation’s best outspoken wordsmiths on Saturday 14 November. Headlined by last year’s indomitable champion wani Le Frère, the final will feature 16 sharp-tongued poets setting the stage ablaze for the coveted title of National Champion.

Other Story Week Festival highlights include:

  • Aloud: Grab a drink from the home bar and settle in for a 30min blast of streamed spoken word featuring artists from Australia, India, South Africa and Singapore.
  • Habla: Primary kids get all multilingual; sharing poetry in languages other than English through workshops, performances and conversation.
  • Word Travels Around the World: Travel is something we can’t do for the moment, but live streams are borderless so the Festival invites audiences to tune in for an evening of spoken word by artists from international spoken word festivals including Spoken Word Namibia, Shoko Festival and Sing Lit Station.
  • WORDSMITH – The Poetry Podcast Launch: Join the Festival for the launch of WORDSMITH – the poetry podcast – presented by Miriam Hechtman and Kelly Van Nelson. Listen to and learn from an eclectic mix of Australian and international poets as they reveal what’s behind their words.
  • Sto-Re-Mi: This interactive bedtime story-telling program invites parents to make up a story or song for your kids before bed. Register online and share the details of your experience.

The 2020 Story Week Festival takes place online from 6 – 14 November. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: wani Le Frère at the 2029 Australian Poetry Slam National Finals at the Sydney Opera House (supplied)