The Lost Arabs by Omar Sakr wins the 2020 Prime Minister's Literary Awards for Poetry
Omar Sakr’s The Lost Arabs has won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, as announced via livestream on 10 December.
UQP are so excited to share this news and would like to offer an enormous congratulations to Omar.
Judges’ comments on The Lost Arabs, ‘The vital, energy-driven poems in this collection speak with a clear and fearless voice, a voice that is often passionate and sometimes angry, but always lucid and warmly human. Omar Sakr, an Arab-Australian-born poet, writes of things that concern us all: love, fear, family, exile, sex, culture, and war. He explores the themes of freedom and violence, of banishment and forgiveness, of the realities of the body and the idea of home. These poems are at once complex and accessible, using a wide range of poetic techniques and forms, and employing richly evocative language. They emphasise the interconnectedness of human affairs: sexuality and spirituality, ethnicity and identity, courage and terror. Some of them are grounded in rage, others in compassion and gentleness, but all of them acknowledge the complexities of their subject matter, and many of them are works of great subtlety and beauty.’
The Lost Arabs is a visceral and energetic collection of poetry. Omar’s writing confronts notions of identity and belonging head-on. Braiding together sexuality and divinity, conflict and redemption, The Lost Arabs is a seething, urgent collection from a distinct voice.
With a prize of $80,000 for each winner and $5,000 for each shortlisted entries, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards celebrate outstanding literary talent in Australia and the valuable contribution Australian writing makes to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life.
As co-host of the Extraordinary Voices podcast, Omar has contributed enormously to the strength of Australia's poetry scene during the pandemic, and we can't wait to see what his next project brings. Congratulations, Omar!