Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Michael Mohammed Ahmad is director of SWEATSHOP: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and a member of Western Sydney University Writing and Society Research Centre. In 2012 he received the Australia Council Kirk Robson Award for his work in community cultural development.
Mohammed’s debut novel The Tribe (2014, Giramondo) earned him the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists of the Year Award and was adapted for the stage by Urban Theatre Projects for the Sydney Festival 2015 and Belvoir Theatre in 2016.
All essays by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Lebs and Punchbowl Prison
‘In this essay, I will tell you about the ‘was once’ generation: my generation of young men at Punchbowl Boys High School who the teachers, politicians, community leaders, parents, and local law enforcement decided needed to be locked up, for the safety of our community and for our own safety. I will also tell you about the journalists and filmmakers who believed we needed to be put on the front pages of the newspapers and on prime-time television. Who were we? The scholars and academics will tell you we were working class and underclass Australian Muslim males from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, but on the streets of Western Sydney we went by another name – Lebs.’
‘For bad writers the idea of learning creative writing through education and training is unheard of. Learn? What do you mean learn? Good writing comes from the heart. This would be a completely unacceptable attitude in any other discipline. Would you try to perform brain surgery or replace a car engine or get into a professional boxing ring because you have heart? Nobody is denying that to be good at one of these professions you need to have a passion for them – but this is not supposed to be a substitute for education and training. Boxing is a particular area where I can draw some useful analogies because I was a fighter before I was a writer .’
All essays featuring Michael Mohammed Ahmad
by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Published March, 2018
by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Published May, 2014
Language and Love: The Tribe by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
The Tribe tells stories of people of largely Lebanese Muslim origin, stories of the young narrator’s immediate and wider circle of family, friends, associates. In relating the lines of agreement as well as the points of dissension and tension among his people, Ahmad shows that there are various streams of belonging, some that flow fiercely, some that are shallow to the point of being non-existent.
Under New Management
The voices and stories of Ahmad, Polites and Carman work incredibly well together to create an interwoven picture of the lives of these young men in the suburbs of their youth. In this respect, Three Jerks cuts through the homogeneity of media images by introducing us to characters from distinctly different backgrounds, occupying the same streets and engaging in different ways.