Festival Program


Saying No

Sat 7 Sep, 1pm
The Toff in Town

Four people who have said ‘no’ to the added expectations placed on love from culture, community, family and religion discuss the challenges. With Sushi Das (Deranged Marriage), Hares & Hyenas co-founder Crusader Hillis, gay Imam Nur Warsame, and polyamorous advocate Nevo Zisin.


1 hour

Session code


Available on Pass



Session Artists

Sushi Das is an award-winning journalist and the chief of staff at RMIT ABC Fact Check. For more than two decades she worked for The Age in various roles, including news editor, columnist, feature writer and op-ed editor. She is the author of Deranged Marriage, an east-meets-west memoir about arranged marriage.

Crusader Hillis is a writer, editor, curator and producer. In 1991, he co-founded (with Rowland Thomson) the queer bookshop and performance space Hares & Hyenas, which has since presented over 2000 events. Crusader’s fiction and memoir has been published variously. He has a concurrent career as a Hansard reporter at the Parliament of Victoria.

Imam Nur Warsame obtained his religious qualifications in Egypt and memorised the Quran in South Africa. He has been active as an Imam in Australia since 2000, and is the founder of Marhaba Inc, an organisation that focuses on the welfare of LGBTIQ+ Muslims. He conducts workshops and talks to LGBT groups nationally and internationally.

Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator, and curator. As founder and host of the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe, a matinée of beats and performance, Sista Zai has spoiled audiences in Sydney and Melbourne with over 100 performances by First Nations and Afro-descended creatives. She is a recipient of a Sidney Neilma Literary Travel Grant.

Nevo Zisin is a Jewish, queer, non-binary writer, activist and public speaker. Based in Naarm/Birraranga/Melbourne, they run workshops in schools and workplaces around trans issues. They are the author of the award-winning memoir Finding Nevo and a contributor to Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories.

Image: Proud Minority

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