Welcome to the 2023 black&write! Editor Interns
This month, the black&write! team excitedly rolled out the welcome mat for its two newest First Nations Editor Interns. For the next twelve months, Georgia Anderson and Darby Jones will work under the supervision of Grace Lucas-Pennington, Nadia Johansen, and Bianca Valentino who will teach the pair everything they know about the writing, editing, and publishing industry. Together, they will develop the manuscripts submitted by the two winners of the annual black&write! Writing Fellowship (announced in May 2023).
Read on to learn a little more about who Georgia and Darby are, where they have come from, and what they are looking forward to during their time with black&write!
Darby: My name is Darby Jones. I’m a Kamilaroi man, a storyteller, and one of the newest Editor Interns at black&write!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading and writing. While my classmates spent their lunchtimes playing sport, I could often be found in the library, nestled amidst stacks of books. If I wasn’t reading stories about interesting people and faraway places, I was writing stories of my own.
I spent the first seventeen years of my life on Kamilaroi Country in St. George, Southwest Queensland—a small town renowned for its cattle and cotton. Growing up queer in a rural area came with a unique set of challenges, and so—as soon as I graduated—I made the move to Brisbane where I planned to study at UQ. However, the shift from country life to city life proved to be quite an adjustment; university seemed like a hurdle I wouldn’t be able to handle, and so I fell into a decade-long career as a hair colourist.
I enjoyed a successful career in the hairdressing industry, but a part of me always regretted not pursuing my passion for literature and writing. I would often browse university catalogues and dream about what my life would have been like had I only been brave enough to take the plunge. In 2020, I finally did, and I’ve never looked back. I am moving into the final year of my Arts Degree at UQ, in which I major in Writing and minor in English Literature and Anthropology.
Through my studies—and my lived experiences as a queer, Kamilaroi man—I’ve come to understand more than ever the empowering nature of storytelling for marginalised people. Through storytelling, we reclaim our voices. Through storytelling, we rewrite our histories. Through storytelling, we refuse to be silenced.
Working at black&write! is a dream come true for many reasons, and there is so much I’m looking forward to over the next twelve months. Firstly, I look forward to working and growing alongside industry professionals. Secondly, I look forward to learning as much as I can about writing, editing, and publishing. Finally, and most importantly, I look forward to working with other First Nations storytellers whose words we will share with the world.
Georgia: I am a proud Torres Strait Islander woman from Boigu Island and the Umu Mere and Umai Lag clans. I grew up in the Hunter Valley of NSW and moved to Meanjin in December of 2019. I’ve always held a vocation to justice and expression. I am dedicated to and thrilled by representation of Indigenous voices in media, books, government and societal structures. I have just completed my third year (of 6) in a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) and Law at QUT. I grew up reading poetry from Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Maya Angelou and anything I could get my hands on. I loved the immersive nature of poetry, the musicality of verse and they way it allowed for expression away from the direct patterns of prose. I longed for the freedom I could see in the expressive form of poetry. I felt the pull towards writing and started at the age of 14 and haven’t stopped. I love exploring identity, connection, and healing through my writing.
I was incredibly excited by the prospect of getting to work in publishing at black&write! Being surrounded by fellow First Nations people in a creative space for literary publishing sounded like an absolute dream. I believe in this project, I believe in the impact it has in amplifying First Nations voices into the wider world of reading. Storytelling is a pillar of our culture, and it is imperative to the continuation of our culture that we share our stories. Our stories have survived colonisation, shame and attempted erasure, this speaks to the strength of our stories and our culture. I am elated by the fact that I get to be a part of the team that is bringing light to these stories.
The editor internship is an exciting opportunity for me to learn about a field I love while being supported and taught by inspiring and like-minded people in a culturally safe and enriching environment. The experience I hope to gain from this will be invaluable to my future career, wherever that may take me. But for me, it's not only the experience and lessons I will learn that will shape me, it’s the fulfilment that I will feel working in an industry that I truly love, getting to feel the satisfaction of working towards something I believe in while making connections and building networks of support for all my future endeavours. I aspire to support other First Nations people in amplifying their voice in the same way I feel supported by many in my community.
Welcome to black&write! Georgia and Darby!
black&write! Editor Training is supported by the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.