Council congratulates Safdar Ahmed

Friday 27 May 2022

Director of the Refugee Arts Project at Inner West Council’s Thirning Villa has won Book of the Year at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Safdar Ahmed is an artist, writer and educator. He won for his graphic novel Still Alive: Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention System.

The judges called Safdar’s book an “extraordinary debut”.

“This bold and ambitious graphic novel is an engrossing read…with searing and unforgettable images rendered in the author’s distinctive visual style,” the judges said.

The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards are held annually. They are the richest and longest running state-based literary awards in Australia and cover all genres of writing.

Safdar is the director of Refugee Arts Project, a non-profit, community arts organisation based at Thirning Villa since June 2018.

Thirning Villa in Ashfield is one of Council’s Artists in Residence creative spaces.

RAP has collaborated regularly with fellow Artists in Residence group New Moon Collective to develop, produce and exhibit at Thirning Villa. These exhibitions and projects successfully engaged local communities and major organisations. Other collaborations include:

I Am Not A Virus with Diversity Arts and #RacismNOTwelcome forum and exhibition (postponed due to Covid)

52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS online exhibition, curated by RAP with Artspace Gallery

• Damon Amb’s photography exhibition, Night

Read to Me’s live visual storytelling The politics of representation

• UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law’s podcast storytelling project Temporary

For a print quality image of Safdar at the awards, contact the Communication team.

For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, 9392 5334 or

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Page last updated: 27 May 2022