Meet Maryam Azam

Meet Maryam, our fifth and final writer commissioned as part of  our 5 + 5 project with Sweatshop Western Sydney Literacy Movement.

A highschool teacher in Kellyville by day, Maryam is an Australian Muslim millennial, writer, poet and author of the recently-published anothology The Hijab Files.

TS: What’s the driving force behind your work? Are there any issues or ideas or forms that you like to explore or often return to in your writing?

MA: I am driven by the desire to do my part to address the lack of authentic representation of Muslim women in literature written in English. The intersection between the everyday and the spiritual is another idea that often recurs in my work.


TS: How did you first get in to writing?

MA: I started out a passionate reader which naturally led to writing. I got into poetry when my year 9 English teacher suggested I enter a writing competition and so I submitted a poem because I thought it would be easier than writing a story. I ended up winning third place and went on to write more poetry since then.

TS: As we approach the first development for the show, what are you most looking forward to? Have you worked on anything like this before?

MA: I am looking forward to collaborating with the other writers and interweaving our different storylines together. I worked on a similar project of writing for performance for the Boundless Festival in partnership with Urban Theatre Projects, however, what makes this project different is being a part of a group of writers whose characters cross over into each other’s stories.


TS: Whose writing do you really admire? Who are your main influences?

MA: I really admire the work of Michael Mohammad Ahmad and Jenny Zhang.  My work is heavily influenced by the Sweatshop writers group and the Imagist poets.


TS: What is a conversation Australia needs to have right now?

MA: There needs to be a discussion about the continuing trend of telling other people’s stories. We need to talk about how we can make space for diverse writers to tell their own stories.

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5 + 5 will be written throughout 2018 ready for development and presentation by 2020.

Performing Lines is working with Sweatshop Western Sydney Literacy Movement, with support from Playwriting Australia.

We need your help to continue commissioning exciting new and urgent works.

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