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UQP acquires poetry collection from Palestinian Australian poet Sara M. Saleh
Posted 16.05.2022

UQP acquires poetry collection from Palestinian Australian poet Sara M. Saleh

UQP is delighted to announce that we’ve acquired the debut poetry collection of talented Arab Australian writer and activist Sara M. Saleh.

The Flirtation of Girls /Ghazl el-Banat is a dazzling collection that examines and represents the complexity of Arab-Australian Muslim women’s identities, as well as exploring gender and power dynamics, intergenerational trauma and transformation, and the burdens and blessings of dislocation and relocation. The poems are wide-ranging in terms of form and subject matter, and include archival and contemporary depictions of women’s experiences of war, colonial and patriarchal violence, and exile and migration. The collection is, at times, deeply personal, a multilayered conversation amongst three generations of women in Sara’s family, while also being urgent, timely and of universal resonance.

Sara M. Saleh says:

‘The poems in The Flirtation of Girls are a series of conversations, revelations, and meditations between the women in my family, women who have always been at the forefront of our resistance to colonial and patriarchal violence; is an archival and contemporary exploration of their relationships with each other and with wider society, both a reimagining and a retrieval of what was lost, through their ‘small’ acts of disobedience, and their contradictions and griefs. And while this manuscript evokes perspectives and geographies that are specific to Arab-Australian immigrant identities, I’ve written it for all those who, like me, straddle both a home, and a homeland. It's a great honour to release this work into the world with UQP and join the long line of incredible and important poets that have come before. I hope this debut makes them proud.’

Publisher Aviva Tuffield says:

‘It is such an honour to be publishing Sara M. Saleh’s first collection. She is a writer and poet who I have long admired – and her work has rightly received unprecedented recognition in recent years, winning two of this country’s leading poetry prizes. The Flirtation of Girls showcases Sara’s exceptional skills with language, imagery and the poetic form. Her poems are acts of resistance, a reclaiming of women’s voices, and also moving testimonies. They have both a specificity and a timeless relevance – not one will leave the reader unmoved or unimpressed.’

About Sara M. Saleh

Sara M. Saleh is a human rights campaigner, poet, writer, and the daughter of migrants from Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon, living on Gadigal land. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in English and Arabic in various national and international outlets, including Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Overland, Kill Your Darlings, Red Room, Rabbit Poetry Journal, SBS Life, Sweatshop Women’s Anthology, Racism: Stories on Fear, Hate, and Bigotry, and global anthologies Making Mirrors, Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word, A Blade of Grass, Borderless: a transnational anthology of feminist poetry, and Another Australia (forthcoming 2023).

Sara has run poetry workshops in countless classrooms, community spaces, and festivals across the country, and has performed nationally and internationally, her most recent on the TEDxSydney stage and for Love and Revolution, a short collaborative poetry documentary that recently aired on SBS. She is the first and only poet in Australian history to win both the Australian Book Review’s 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize 2020.

Sara co-edited the 2019 anthology Arab-Australian-Other: Stories on Race and Identity, a groundbreaking collection of stories and essays which brings together 23 writers of Arab-Australian backgrounds. She is currently developing her first novel, Songs for the Dead and the Living, as a recipient of the inaugural Affirm Press Mentorship for Sweatshop Writers.

Sara sits on the board of national advocacy organisation GetUp! and is a proud Bankstown Poetry Slam ‘Slambassador’.

For more information please contact Louise Cornegé on louise.cornege@uqp.com.au or 07 3346 7932