kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowships
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 high school, at the Brisbane School of Distance Education, Teagan felt she had found her independence and confidence to truly pursue her writing, along with the encouragement of her mother. She studied at BSDE for the rest of grade 8 until she reached grade 10.
Throughout her high school years Teagan wrote many short stories, writing bits and pieces during her lunch breaks and in the afternoons.
She moved to Wavell State High School in 2008, and won the Indigenous Education to Employment Scholarship.
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.
She had never entered a writing competition in her school years, as she had never felt confident enough. Teagan finished Grade 12 at Wavell State High School in 2010.
In her spare time Teagan likes listening to music and reading fictional novels and non-fiction true crime books, and watching horror movies. Teagan currently works in a casual job as an Administration Officer, but her true passion has and always will be her writing.
“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.”
“My inspiration comes from my mother, grandmother and nanna. They are the strongest, most independent and amazing women that I know.”
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.
At 15, Jillian discovered her passion and talent for creative writing, however her focus changed when she became a young mother at 20, and her dreams were put on hold. The single mother of six children moved to Brisbane in 2000 to embrace opportunities for their future.
Over the years she had written the odd poem or two, left unfinished stories and manuscripts lying around the house, posted up inspirational quotes in her home and written songs for the Church she attended regularly. At the age of 41 she decided to start writing professionally.
Inspired by a Torres Strait Islander creative writing workshop at State Library of Queensland, and the invitation to enter black&write! Jillian decided it was time to put into practice what she had taught her children: discover your passion, your gifts and make a career out of it.
During the workshop, Jillian discovered a picture from SLQ’s Margaret Lawrie Collection, drawn by the late Uncle Ephraim Bani from a story about Amipuru - a picture of a giant pelican carrying a man across the ocean. She recognised the picture from her childhood, bringing back fond memories of school days on the island. Inspired by this picture, and unfamiliar with the original story, Jillian wrote Bakir and Bi’.
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.
Tori-Jay now lives in Hervey Bay with her family and is in Year 12 at Urangan State High School.
She grew up with a strong cultural influence from the Torres Strait; and her home environment is full of Torres Strait artefacts and her mother’s artworks. Jessie draws, paints and sculpts and makes dhari (Torres Strait Headdress), Kulap/Gorr and Pulga/Marap (a traditional dancing instrument).
Tory-Jay comes from a family with a rich history of indigenous artists including renowned Torres Strait Islander painter Grandad Segar Passi, her great uncle.
Her high school art teachers have encouraged Tory-Jay to move from cartoons and anime art to a more realistic style.
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.
“I am inspired by my mum, my art teachers and contemporary artists like Jae Liu Wubao, Russ Mills, James Jean, Aaron Horkey and Banksy.
My long term goal is to become a successful illustrator and theatre designer. In the short term, I would love to attend the School of Illustration at The Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For now, I would love to work with my Aunty Jillian as she writes more stories.”
Ali is an up and coming 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. The main character Ruby, refugee of a massacre, shelters in the woods where she befriends an Irishman trapper.
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.
- Johnnie Kyle-Marshall, Yoolaji
This wise, hopeful and aware collection of poems from Cairns musician and songwriter, has an engaging energy and hip hop rhythm.
- John Wenitong, The Featherfoot Chronicles
A former educator from Cairns, John has created a lively imagined world of super beings and talking animals in this collection of four pieces, which form the Chronicles fantasy.
kuril dhagun Indigenous Editing Mentorships
Ellen van Neerven-Currie
Ellen has a degree in Fine Arts in Creative Writing Production, and was a Communications trainee at the Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation before undertaking the Mentorship. Ellen’s father is Dutch, and her mother’s family is Munanjali/Yugambeh of the Queensland region around Beaudesert. Her passion for books may have been influenced by growing up around them, her mother a former library technician.
Read more about Ellen
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.
Read more about Linda
kuril dhagun Indigenous onscreen editing traineeships
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.
As Director of the black&write! project, Sue also mentors the trainee editors. A professional consultant in writing, publishing, and an adviser to government and publishers, Sue’s freelance work has included writing master classes, publishing lectures and judging literary competitions.
She is currently Vice Chair of the Queensland Writers Centre, and was awarded the Johnno Award in 2006, for services to Queensland writing.
Sue began as a trainee editor with University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 1981, and was Poetry Editor for 14 years. As a Senior Editor, she managed the David Unaipon Award and was Series Editor of the Black Australian Writers list until she left UQP in 2005. She also worked with established and emerging authors across the spectrum of UQP’s publications.