State Library celebrates new chapter for Indigenous writing

Four new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and editors join State Library of Queensland's black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing team in 2015.

State Librarian Janette Wright announced the 2015 black&write! Writing Fellows as creative writing graduate Jannali Jones and law student Alison Whittaker.

"The quality of manuscripts received this year has demonstrated that Australia's Indigenous writing community is constantly growing, thriving and evolving," said Ms Wright.

"Jannali, a Krowathunkoolong woman of the Kurnai nation, is an upcoming literary star. Her work 'My Father's Shadow' is an atmospheric mystery about secrets, guilt, young love and an 18-year-old girl's journey to reconcile her past," she said.

"Alison's work, 'Lemons in the Chicken Wire', is a collection of poems about family, displacement, identity and love. Alison, a Gomeroi woman from Gunnedah and Tamworth, skilfully draws on these themes and the resulting work signals the arrival of a stunning and honest new voice in Australian poetry."

The two Writing Fellows, both based in Sydney, will each receive $10,000 prize money, manuscript development with the black&write! editorial team, and publication of their entry by Indigenous publishing house Magabala Books.

For the first time since 2010, State Library also welcomes two Editing Interns to the black&write! team with support from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.

"State Library established the black&write! project to help counter the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the publishing industry. These Editing Internships are an unparalleled opportunity to produce Indigenous editors of Indigenous writing," said Ms Wright.

The black&write! Editing Interns for 2015-2016 are Grace Lucas-Pennington, a young Yugembeh/Bundjalung woman with a background in radio broadcasting, and Yasmin Smith Rockhampton, a QUT creative writing graduate and Queensland Writers Centre workshop coordinator.

Grace and Yasmin commenced work with State Library's black&write! team earlier this year and will work on the 2015 winning manuscripts from Writing Fellows Jannali and Alison.

Inaugural Editing Intern Ellen van Neerven is now black&write! Senior Editor. As a first time author, Ellen won the prestigious David Unaipon Award for 2013 for her debut novel Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), which is nationally acclaimed and has been nominated in several prize lists this year.

"Ellen is a prime example of how the black&Write! project is contributing to our national literary community, and ensuring that our unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are represented," said Ms Wright.

Visit black&write! for more information on the Indigenous Writing and Editing project and other works produced by the team.

Entries for the 2016 Writing Fellowships open late 2015.

Interview opportunities

2015 black&write! Writing Fellows:
Jannali Jones 'My Father's Shadow'
Alison Whittaker 'Lemons in the Chicken Wire'

2015 black&write! Editing Interns:
Grace Lucas-Pennington
Yasmin Smith

High resolution images available upon request.

Media enquiries
Shahedah Sabdia, SLQ Communications
07 3842 9084 |

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.

Library Shop online

Discover an eclectic range of books, gifts, reproduction prints and more at the Library Shop.