Indigenous Writing Fellowships
Lystra Bisschop, The Upwelling
Lystra Bisschop grew up in Far North Queensland. She descends from the Guugu Yimidhirr, Birri Gubba, Torres Strait people and also has Scottish-New Zealand ancestry. As a Mother of two (and wife of one) Lystra loves the Gold Coast lifestyle... surfing, wandering along the beaches, and using this inspiration in her storytelling.The Upwelling is about a teenage surfer who slips into a land without European influence and discovers her unwanted magical gift is the only thing that can save us all. The judges praised The Upwelling as a highly original coming-of-age story, unlike anything they had ever read.
Nardi Simpson, Song of the Crocodile
As a tree fixed still at the river’s edge, Nardi Simpson’s roots hold deep to the freshwater floodplains of NSW Yuwaalaraay country. As a writer, performer, musician, educator and cultural knowledge practitioner her branches extend, casting shade and creating rich and fertile earth, in which she works to share and grow Indigenous knowledge, practice, language, and country in communities throughout NSW, from her flat plains homelands to her Sydney home. Song of the Crocodile is her first novel.
Claire Coleman, Terra Nullius
Claire Coleman is a Noongar writer from Western Australia. She grew up in a Forestries settlement not far out of Perth. She wrote her Fellowship-winning manuscript while travelling Australia in a caravan.
Terra Nullius is a speculative novel set in the great southern region of Western Australia in a post-traumatic future. It’s allegorical power, using genre fiction conventions to speak to a broad literary readership, had the judges comparing Claire to an “Australian Margaret Atwood”. They said the book is a “sophisticated” and “really clever” work of criticism that provokes thought.
Dylan Coleman, Clear Water White Death
Dylan Coleman is a Kokatha-Greek woman from Thevenard, South Australia. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Adelaide, where she currently teaches Indigenous health. Dylan has worked in Aboriginal education, health, land rights and the arts for over twenty years.
Clear Water White Death is a tribute novel to Dr Coleman’s father, centring around a Greek-Aboriginal family residing on the far west coast of South Australia. The story touches on the complex stages of loss, grief and mental illness which affect family and community. The judging panel described Dr Coleman’s work as “a cinematic and fascinating story”.
Alison Whittaker, Lemons in the Chicken Wire
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi woman from Gunnedah and Tamworth, north-western New South Wales. She lives in Sydney and is currently studying a combined Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Writing and Cultural Studies) and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology Sydney. Alison’s work has been published in literary journals, small press zines and university publications, and will be included in an forthcoming collection of essays on Indigenous and queer identity. Her winning manuscript ‘Lemons in the Chicken Wire’ is a collection of poems about family, displacement, identity and love.
Jannali Jones, My Father’s Shadow
Jannali Jones is a Krowathunkoolong woman of the Kurnai nation. She is a creative writing graduate and recent publications in literary journals and awards have warned about her arrival as an upcoming young literary star. Her manuscript ‘My Father’s Shadow’ draws inspiration from the scenery of the Blue Mountains, and is an atmospheric mystery about secrets, guilt, young love and an 18-year-old girl’s journey to reconcile her past.
Jane Harrison, Becoming Kirrali Lewis
Jane Harrison is a descendant of the Muruwari people of NSW. Her play Stolen has been performed in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmania, WA, the UK, Hong Kong and Tokyo, with readings in Canada, New York and Los Angeles. Stolen was the co-winner of the Kate Challis RAKA Award 2002. Rainbow’s End premiered in Melbourne (2005), has had a Tokyo production, toured to 33 venues throughout Australia in 2011 and won the Drover’s Award for Tour of the Year (2012). Both plays have been on the English syllabi. Jane’s essays include My Journey through Stolen, the MJA Ross Ingram 2010 award-winning Healing our communities, healing ourselves, and Indig-curious; who can play Aboriginal roles? (2012). She guest edited RealBlak performing arts magazine (2012) and has an MA in Playwriting from QUT (2010). She has two daughters. Becoming Kirrali Lewis was Highly Commended in the 2016 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.
Adrian Stanley, Could be worse
Adrian Stanley is a descendant of the Kalai people of Queensland and the Boandik Robe people of South Australia. He lives in Adelaide with his family and works as a fly-in, fly-out worker for a mining company.
Tristan Savage, Rift Breaker
Tristan is a Kalkadoon man from Townsville in Queensland. Tristan has already made a name for himself as a comedian, winning the 2011 Deadly Funny Award, a national competition held as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Rift Breaker is his first novel and is a science fiction adventure.
Jared Thomas, Calypso Summer
Jared identifies with the Nukunu people of South Australia. Jared has written several plays and his short stories and poetry have been published in a number of anthologies. His first novel Sweet Guy was published by IAD press in 2005. Jared is a lecturer in communication and literature at the University of South Australia and has recently completed his PhD in Creative Writing. Calypso Summer is a Young Adult novel.
New Award in 2013 – the kuril dhagun Prize
Scott is from Mt Isa in Queensland and identifies with the Kalkadoon people. Scott is a retired professional rugby league player having played for teams such as the Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, and Wests Tigers.
Dave identifies as Burunggum. He is the Deputy Principal of a primary school in Logan City Queensland.
Deadly D and Justice Jones: Making the Team is their first book and is written for primary aged readers.
Teagan Chilcott, Rise of the Fallen
Teagan, 19, is a first time author living in Redcliffe, Queensland. She identifies with the Kamilaroi from Northern NSW and Wakka Wakka from Queensland. Born in Brisbane, she was raised by her mother and grandmother. She went to Taigum State School and Scarborough State Primary School where, in grade 7, she won the Indigenous Student of the Year Award (Deadly Student Award), and gave her first speech at NAIDOC.
In her senior year Teagan began working on Rise of the Fallen. The idea for the novel came in a dream, and she wrote the final chapter of the novel first before writing the beginning. “I've enjoyed reading and writing stories since I was a little girl. When I was seven I wrote a short story and I remember instantly knowing that I wanted to be a writer.”
Jillian Boyd (author), Bakir and Bi
Jillian is a budding author, poet and songwriter. She is a Torres Strait Islander who is passionate about her people, culture and shaping our future leaders, our children and youth. Jillian was born and raised on Thursday Island in the Torres Straits. Her mother, Edith (nee Sailor) was born on Erub (Darnley Island) in the Eastern Island group and her father David was born and raised in Queenstown, New Zealand. Jillian works with the Indigenous community around Brisbane to promote and preserve Torres Strait Islander culture. She works to inspire and mentor young people as she continues to write and work towards publishing more literature.
Tori-Jay Mordey (illustrator), Bakir and Bi
Tori-Jay, 17, was born on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, the youngest of five children. Her mother Jessie is from Thursday Island and father Clive is from England. Jessie’s family background is from Murray Island which is in the Eastern Island group in the Torres Strait and Badu in the Western Islands. She also has passion and talent for theatre, is an active member of Z Pac Theatre Productions in Hervey Bay. She danced in Queensland Creative Generation in 2009 and 2010, and successfully auditioned for drama in the 2012 production. This love has extended to theatre design, including costume, props and special effect make-up.
Ali Cobby Eckermann, Ruby Moonlight
Ali is a poet living in Koolunga, South Australia, where she has established an Aboriginal writer’s retreat. She identifies with the Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha from the north west desert country of South Australia. Ali was a guest of Sydney Writers Festival 2010, and her 27-poem monograph Little Bit Long Time was published in 2009 by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series. Ruby Moonlight is an historical tale set in South Australia around 1880.
Ruby Moonlight was published by Magabala Books in May 2012. Ali was the winner of the Deadly Award for outstanding contribution to Indigenous Literature in 2012. Ruby Moonlight was awarded the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Book of the Year award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2013.
Ali was also winner of one of the 2013 Onscreen Editing traineeships. Her latest collection, Inside My Mother (Giramondo, 2015), was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards Indigenous Writers' Prize.
Sue McPherson, Grace Beside Me
Sue is a visual artist living in Eumundi, Queensland. She was born in Sydney to an Aboriginal mother, from Wiradjuri country, and her father is Torres Strait Islander. She grew up with her adopted family near Batlow in New South Wales. Inspired to write for her two teenage sons, Sue took a writing workshop and started writing Grace Beside Me three months later. Narrated by a teenage girl, Grace Beside Me is a warm story of home and family life in a small town.
Grace Beside Me was published by Magabala Books in April 2012. Sue was shortlisted for the Deadly Award for outstanding contribution to Indigenous Literature in 2012. Grace Beside Me was selected for the White Ravens List 2013 and shortlisted in the Young Adult category for the Prime Ministers Literary Awards in 2013.
Indigenous Editing Internships
2015-16 Editing Interns
Grace is a young Aboriginal woman of Bundjalung/European descent. Growing up, she spent her time between Northern NSW and the Logan/Brisbane area. She was a trainee at the community radio station 98.9FM, and is passionate about reading books from all genres.
Yasmin Smith is from Rockhampton, and is a QUT creative writing graduate and Queensland Writers Centre workshop coordinator. Her most recent work has been published as part of the black&write! anthology Writing Black: New Indigenous Writing from Australia. Yasmin’s work has also been read at local literary events, and she has been involved in a QUT mentoring program to tutor creative writing to undergraduate Indigenous students.
2010 Editing Interns
Ellen van Neerven-Currie
Born in Brisbane in 1990 to Aboriginal and Dutch parents, Ellen is a Mununjali/Yugambeh woman with ancestral ties to the Scenic Rim region. An inaugural Indigenous Editing Internship recipient, Ellen now is the Senior Editor of black&write!. Ellen is also the editor of Writing Black, a new digital collection of Indigenous writing with an emphasis on innovative storytelling, and the award-winning author of the short story collection Heat and Light (UQP, 2014) and the poetry collection Comfort Food (UQP, 2016).
Linda was born in Brisbane and grew up in the suburb of Zillmere where she still lives in the house that has been home to three generations of McBrides. As a young Aboriginal woman in the early 1980s, Linda lived in the USA and married at Schofield Barracks Army base in Hawaii. She was the first Aboriginal student to complete grade 12 at Sandgate District State High School. A graduate of University of Queensland, Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.
kuril dhagun Indigenous onscreen editing traineeships
Sylvia Nakatchi (Thursday Island, Torres Strait Qld)
Sylvia has a degree in Education from the Queensland University of Technology and a post-graduate qualification in childhood studies from Griffith University. She lives on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and travels frequently to the communities of the Northern Peninsula Area, Bamaga, Umagico, Injinoo, New Mapoon and Seisia. Her interests include working as a volunteer for Fly Youth, mission work, humanitarian work, camping, jewelry making, painting, cooking, exploring nature (flora and fauna), visiting art galleries and museums, collecting antiques and inspirational books, learning and researching other cultures, hosting dinner parties and living life to the fullest.
Kamisah Bin Demin (Broome, WA)
Kamisah was born in Broome and is a descendant from the Ngarluma people of the Pilbara, the Jabirr Jabirr people of the west Kimberley, and the Jaru people of the east Kimberley. She is very proud of her heritage, being Aboriginal, Asian and European, and is inspired by her town, community and family. Kamisah is a member of the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Organising Council’s Board of directors, a Sales and Administrative Assistant at Magabala Books, and received the 2011 FutureNow Young Achiever’s Runner Up award for outstanding achievements by young people in the WA tourism industry. Her favourite things are her two dogs, Diesel and Sheila, and she hopes to one day write a fiction book or series.
Carissa Godwin (SA)
A young Wemba-Wemba woman, Carissa Lee Godwin is a fledgling writer and long-standing admirer of all things literary. Since graduating with her Honours Degree from the Flinders University Drama Centre in 2010, Carissa has been juggling an acting career, involvement with animal rights groups, and her lingering affection for the written word. Since she was a young girl, with influences such as Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath and Wesley Enoch; Carissa found comfort in expression through words; whether they were formed through stories, writing reviews, script-writing, essays, editing and poetry; or conceived through speech in performance. Now as an adult, Carissa is combining her fondness of language and analysis, by pursuing a career within the unique profession of editing. She is thrilled to be training alongside established writers Ali Cobby Eckerman and Marie Munkara with the black&write! team.
Marie Munkara (Darwin, NT)
Of Rembarranga, Tiwi and Chinese descent Marie has extensive family throughout Arnhemland, the Islands of the Top End and Darwin. Born on the banks of the Mainoru River Marie Munkara spent her early years growing up on Bathurst Island. Her first Novel “Every Secret thing” won the David Unaipon Award in 2008 and the NT Book of the Year in 2010. Marie’s two childrens books “Rusty Brown” and Rusty and Jojo” will be published early next year with Laguna Bay Publishers. Her second Novel “A Most Peculiar Act” is due to be published in May 2014. Marie is currently working on another two novels and a film script. She lives in Darwin with her teenage daughter.