The Lebs up for cash win

Author Michael Mohammad Ahmad with his book, ‘The Lebs’. Photo: Belinda Rolland.

AFTER his novel, ‘The Lebs’, won the Multicultural NSW Award at the 2019 NSW Premier’s Awards, Birrong’s Michael Mohammed Ahmad is now one of six authors short-listed for the prestigious Miles Franklin Award.

‘The Lebs’ (Hachette Australia) is a coming-of-age novel that explores the life of Bani Adam as he grows up in Sydney’s western suburbs, attending Punchbowl Boys High (as did Michael) in a post-9/11 political climate.
Bani has to negotiate his sense of identity and belonging in this hostile, confusing world, while dreaming of so much more.
Michael said: “I wrote ‘The Lebs’ in an attempt to offer a complex, sophisticated portrayal of this particular identity, in an attempt to counteract so many of the negative and simplistic stereotypes that often pigeonhole our community.”
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Dr Bernadette Brennan, said: “The 2019 Miles Franklin shortlist showcases a diverse and exciting range of Australian voices. Each writer has been unafraid to take risks in their narrative, in one or more of structure, subject matter or style. These books celebrate, for the most part, some of the complex, disparate and urgent aspects of contemporary Australian life.”
Each of the 2019 shortlisted authors receives $5,000.
The 2019 winner, to be announced on July 30, will receive $60,000 in prize money.