|Author:||Michael Mohammed Ahmad|
'Bani Adam thinks he's better than us!' they say over and over until finally I shout back, 'Shut up, I have something to say!'
They all go quiet and wait for me to explain myself, redeem myself, pull my shirt out, rejoin the pack. I hold their anticipation for three seconds, and then, while they're all ablaze, I say out loud, 'I do think I'm better.'
As far as Bani Adam is concerned Punchbowl Boys is the arse end of the earth. Though he's a Leb and they control the school, Bani feels at odds with the other students, who just don't seem to care. He is a romantic in a sea of hypermasculinity.
Bani must come to terms with his place in this hostile, hopeless world, while dreaming of so much more.
Praise for The Lebs:
'an open-eyed and highly charismatic novel broiling with fight, tenderness and ambition.' - Big Issue
'The Lebs is a strong and resonant novel that deserves to be widely read.' - Weekend Australian
'The author never lets his superb command of idiom or his eye for the absurd overwhelm a deeply felt exploration of the hurt and damage that can come from encounters with the Australian Other. No one who reads The Lebs deserves to come out unscathed.' - The Saturday Paper
'Ahmad's piercing storytelling cuts away at the lace and trimmings of race relations in Australia today.' - The Lifted Brow
MICHAEL MOHAMMED AHMAD is an Arab-Australian writer, editor, teacher and community arts worker. He is the founder and director of Sweatshop, a literacy movement in Western Sydney devoted to empowering culturally and linguistically diverse artists through creative writing. Mohammed's essays and short stories have appeared in the Sydney Review of Books, The Guardian, Heat, Seizure, The Lifted Brow, The Australian and Coming of Age: Australian Muslim Stories. His debut novel, The Tribe, received a 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists of the Year Award. Mohammed received his Doctorate of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University in 2017.