Omar Musa

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Omar bin Musa
Omar Musa at Jaipur Literature Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne 2017
Omar Musa at Jaipur Literature Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne 2017
Background information
Birth nameOmar bin Musa
Born (1984-01-09) 9 January 1984 (age 36)
Queanbeyan, New South Wales, AUS
GenresHip Hop, slam poetry, spoken word,
Occupation(s)Poet, rapper, songwriter, author
Years active2002–present

Omar bin Musa (born 9 January 1984) is a Malaysian-Australian author, poet and rapper from Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia. He has released three solo hip hop records (including Since Ali Died) and three books of poetry. His debut novel Here Come the Dogs was published in 2014. Here Come the Dogs was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award[1] and Musa was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.[2]


Musa was runner up in the 2007 Australian Poetry Slam, before winning in 2008 at the Sydney Opera House.[3] He went on to win the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam in 2010. Musa has published three books of poetry: The Clocks, Parang and Millefiori. Meaning "machete" in Malay, Parang deals with his Malaysian heritage, migration and loss.

He has performed and collaborated with numerous musicians and hip hop artists, including Kate Tempest, Marc E. Bassy, Daniel Merriweather, Kate Miller-Heidke, Lior, Horrorshow, Mantra, Akala, Soweto Kinch, Joelistics, The Last Kinection, Hau Latukefu from Koolism and L-FRESH the LION.

Musa's debut novel Here Come The Dogs was published by Penguin Books (Australia) in 2014. The story centres around the lives of three disaffected young men in small town Australia. The Guardian Australia described it as examining "race, identity and the unrealised dreams of disempowered Australian youths".[4] The Los Angeles Times said it was "rousing" and "searing", and that "with compassion and urgency, Here Come the Dogs excavates the pain of those who struggle to remain part of a ruthless equation that has been determined by others."[5] Here Come the Dogs was nominated for numerous awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award and the International Dublin Literary Award, and won the People's Choice Award at the ACT Book of the Year Awards. Musa was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year and short-listed for the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards in 2015.

In 2017, Musa released Since Ali Died, a full-length hip hop album featuring Sarah Corry, Amali Golden and Tasman Keith. In 2018, he created a one-man play, Since Ali Died, based upon the album, that premiered at Griffin Theatre in Sydney, Australia.[6]

Musa's work often deals with the themes of migration, Australian racism, violence, masculinity and loneliness.




  • Since Ali Died (2018)



  1. ^ "Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist 2015: Omar Musa, Suzanne McCourt and Christine Piper hit it big with debut works". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Maxine Beneba Clarke, Alice Pung, Ellen Van Neervan, Omar Musa, Michael Mohammed Ahmad are 2015 Best Young Australian Novelists". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Poetry Slam comes down to a 'Slam-off'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  4. ^ Lee, Nicole (22 July 2014). "Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa review – street poetry committed to the page". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Review: Omar Musa brings Australian hip-hop, poetry and subculture to the US in 'Here Come the Dogs'". Los Angeles Times. 14 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Since Ali Died review | Theatre in Sydney". Time Out Sydney.

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