From today, poets, rappers and spoken word artists will compete in heats across Victoria as the search for the state’s poetry slam champion begins.

Victorian writers of all ages and from all backgrounds are invited to share their raw and witty voices with a 2-minute performance of an original work to audiences in Wangaratta, Hawthorn, Geelong, Dandenong, Mildura, Doncaster and Flemington. Award-winning performance poet, Joe McKerrow will host the state-wide heats.

Two finalists from each heat, as judged by audience members, will win a spot in the state final held at State Library Victoria on Friday 4 October. The Victorian winner and runner-up will then take the stage to compete against the country’s best wordsmiths at the 2019 Australian Poetry Slam national final held at Sydney Opera House on 20 October.

The national winner will be given the chance to perform their work internationally on an all-expenses paid literary tour valued at $10,000. The tour will take them to Bryon Writers Festival, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Singapore Writers Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival. They will also receive a two-week artist residency at Bundanon Trust.

Since beginning in 2005, the Australian Poetry Slam has uncovered local talent from all corners of the country and has propelled the careers of spoken word artists internationally.

Joel McKerrow said he was excited to discover and help nurture this year’s group of talented poets.

“The Australian Poetry Slam offers a wonderful platform for artists to share and nurture their love of performance poetry. I have been lucky enough to witness many of Australia’s slam superstars take their first steps in their artistic journey. It is an honour to share the stage with these courageous poets and I look forward to seeing what new voices emerge from this year’s Poetry Slam,” said Mr McKerrow.

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney, said the Australian Poetry Slam has become one of the nation’s most powerful platforms for emerging poets. “Poets play a special role in our community, giving voice to the often unheard, and surfacing issues, emotions and ideas which move, inspire and challenge us,” said Ms Torney.

Australian Poetry Slam is presented by State Library Victoria. It is co-created nationally by Word Travels and supported by state, territory and public libraries and festivals across the country.

Victorian heat locations and dates:

Wangaratta Library
Wednesday 3 July
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pm

Hawthorn Library
Tuesday 9 July
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pm

Geelong Library
Wednesday 10 July
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pmG

Greater Dandenong Library
Saturday 3 August
Registrations open at 1.30pm
Event starts at 2pm

Mildura Library
Thursday 12 September
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pm

Doncaster Library
Friday 20 September
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pm

Flemington Library
Thursday 26 September
Registrations open at 6.30pm
Event starts at 7pm

Victorian state final
State Library Victoria
328 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Friday 4 October

National final
Sydney Opera House
Sunday 20 October

All Victorian heat and finals information is available at https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/australian-poetry-slam-heats

For more information about Australian Poetry Slam visit australianpoetryslam.com

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