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The Flirtation of Girls / Ghazal el-Banat
by

A stunning collection from Sydney poet, human rights activist, community organiser, and refugee campaigner Sara M Saleh.

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Overview

With her first full-length poetry collection, Sara M Saleh introduces us to the polychromatic lives of girls and women as they come into being amidst war, colonial and patriarchal violence, and exile and migration. This searing work interrogates and represents the complexity of Arab-Australian Muslim women’s identities as they negotiate an irresistible world full of music and family, grit and grief, love and loss.

Saleh’s poetry is not only an inherently political act, but a deeply personal one, charged with multilayered conversations and meditations amongst three generations of women in Sara’s family. Her poems dazzle with an incantatory force of spirit, survival and selfhood, proving without a doubt that Saleh is one of this country’s most compelling, contemporary poets.

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Sara M Saleh
Photo by Stefanie Zingsheim

Sara M Saleh

Sara M Saleh is a writer/poet, human rights lawyer, and the daughter of Palestinian, Lebanese and Egyptian migrants. Her poems, essays and short stories have been published widely and she is co-editor of the ground-breaking 2019 anthology Arab, Australian, Other: Stories on Race and
Identity. Her first novel is Songs for the Dead and the Living (Affirm Press, 2023). Her first poetry collection is The Flirtation of Girls/Ghazal el-Banat (UQP, 2023).

Sara is the first and only poet to win both the 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the 2020 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of the inaugural Affirm fellowship for Sweatshop writers, a Neilma Sidney travel grant, Varuna writers residency, and Amant writers residency in Brooklyn, New York, amongst other honours.

Sara is based on Bidjigal land with her partner and their cats, Cappy and Lola.