National literary award for ACU academic

 James Page

Congratulations to ACU academic Dr James (Jim) Page, who was recently announced as the joint winner of the prestigious 2021 Banjo Paterson Writing Award.

Dr Page is an Australian educationist and anthropologist and currently works in the School of Education in Brisbane as a sessional academic, assisting pre-service teachers. The winning entry, ‘Out of Africa’, was co-authored with former Congolese refugee and now Australian citizen Sagamba Muhira and is part of a wider ethnographic project aiming to retell refugee experience through a personal lens.

‘Out of Africa’ tells the story of one person’s escape from the violence and destruction of the Congo Wars and his journey to safety in Australia. Dr Page has been working with Sagamba Muhira since 2011, when he was approached to assist in the task of writing Sagamba’s story. Sagamba was a member of a leading and prosperous family in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his family was targeted during the ethnic violence of the Congo Wars.

Other stories about this journey, co-authored by Sagamba Muhira and Dr Page, have also attracted critical recognition. Last year, the story ‘Grieving for my home in Africa’ was published in an anthology by the Hunter Writers Centre. Earlier this year, ‘Escape from execution’ was longlisted for the US-based Fish Memoir Prize and shortlisted here in Australia for the Newcastle Short Story Award.


 Sugamba Muhira

Much of the collaboration between Dr Page and Sagamba Muhira was through the Romero Refugee Centre in Dutton Park, in suburban Brisbane, operating as part of the Catholic-based Mercy Community Services. The centre aims to support and advocate for the needs of local asylum seekers and those who have been granted humanitarian asylum in Australia.

A book-length version of the journey shared in ‘Out of Africa’ is expected to be published early in 2022.

Find out more and read ‘Out of Africa’

To enter the 2022 Banjo Paterson Writing Award, contact or

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