Welcome to First Word, The newsletter from the First Nations Australia Writers' Network.
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Edition 5 December 2014

Message from the Chairperson

Seasons greetings

Welcome to the Christmas edition of the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) newsletter. What a busy year we have had. As usual it’s been a busy month for the First Nations Writers Australia Network  have been involved with events from Canberra to all over the world it’s been a fantastic time for many FNAWNees.

Our members have won some major awards and they continue to shine as representatives of us as First Nations Australia writers, poets and storytellers. We have begun planning for 2015 and hope to have more details early in the year. Time is fast approaching for the election of new FNAWN Directors. We will be contacting all members about the election process and will keep you up to date.

I would like to thank our Executive Officer, Cathy Craigie and our Directors Alexis West, Jim Everett, John Harding and Barbara Nicholson for their time, commitment and goodwill that they have given to establishing FNAWN as the First Nation Literary organisation that we need and want.

On that note I wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, stay strong, stay deadly and be good to you and Mob. 

In Unity, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Chairperson


Message from the Executive Director

Looking forward to 2015

As Kerry said “what a busy time” behind us and in front of us. We have been busy with special projects working with wonderful people involved in the Literary Common! Project and the Boatshed series of events with Corrorobee held recently in Sydney. We are busy working on our 2015 activities.

Don’t forget if you haven’t joined yet our membership contact us for a membership form to be sent to you.

If you have an event that you would like to share, please let us know.

Cheers, Cathy Craigie, Executive Director

News from the network

Anita wows them at Corroboree 2015

Anita Heiss and Sam Faulkner on stageThere are few more passionate about showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence than author Dr Anita Heiss. Last week I was lucky enough to be in Sydney and headed down the Rocks Boatshed at Circular Quay to see Anita yarn with Torres Strait Islander author Sam Faulker. One of a series of yarns that week with 'celebrities', this session gave Sam an opportunity to ... Read more ...


Tony Birch delivers the David Hunter Memorial Lecture 2014

Dr Tony Birch, the Miles Franklin nominated writer, delivered the keynote 2014 Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) ACT David Hunter Memorial Lecture in Canberra on Thursday 20 November.  The theme was Reconciliation and Identity and Tony spoke of his writing and research into the life of Bessie Rawlings, the mother of William Reginald Rawlings, who was awarded the Military Medal for bravery during World War I.  Read more ...

Awards and Book Launches


Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing (2014)

On Wednesday 3rd September - Indigenous Literacy Day, the winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing - Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko was announced. The 2014 shortlist included The Promise by Tony Birch,  Mogwie-Ida: Stories of the Land by Lionel Fogarty, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, The Swan Book by Alexis Wright and Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas.

Queensland Literary Awards

At the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards, Ellen Van Neervan won one of three Queensland Writers Fellowships for her work Day of Extinction. While Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu was shortlisted for the University of Southern Queensland History Book Award, and Tony Birch's The Promise was shortlisted for the University of Southern Queensland Australian Short Story Collection - Steele Rudd Award.

Anne Edgesworth Fellowship for Young Writers (2014)

The Anne Edgesworth Fellowship for Young Writers, now in its second year, is awarded to an emerging writer under 35 in the ACT and surrounding regions, and is used to advance the recipient's education in the craft of writing. This year, Lisa Fuller was the joint winner of this award.


Do you want to become a member of FNAWN? It's easy.  You must be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer or involved in the literary world. Our individual fees are affordable and you will receive a newsletter informing you of what's happening in the world of First Nations Australia writing, poetry and story-telling. You will have opportunities that are not offered to non-members such as specialised projects, like attending writers groups, festivals etc, and you will be invited to our 2015 Workshop in August in Melbourne.

There has been a bit of confusion in relations to member dates. We apologise for that. At the moment membership to FNAWN is free until July 1, 2015. If you haven't joined yet contact Kerry ( for a membership form to be sent to you.

Our fees (from the 1st of July 2015) will be:

Individual Under 18 - $20
Individual Over 18  - $25
Literary Organisations (not for profit) - $50
Other Organisations - $100

What is FNAWN?

If you haven't already heard about FNAWN, we are a new national writers and storytellers' advocacy, resource and support service. Here's what we do:
  • First Nations Australia Writers' Network is the national peak body supporting the development and promotion of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander literature and writers.
  • We enhance writers' skills and opportunities by fostering national networks and partnerships to develop projects and initiatives that will promote and present our literature to a wider audience.
  • We offer both emerging and established writers investment in their creative development and an opportunity to participate in professional advancement.
  • FNAWN will assist literary festivals and organisations to encourage Aboriginal participation by finding writers and developing programs.
  • We will represent and advocate on behalf of our membership, to policy making bodies and other relevant forums and agencies, to promote our writers, poets, and story-tellers' professional interests.
  • We will build strong relationships within the literary and arts industries to ensure our members' interests are included in any industry strategy, plan or policy
  • FNAWN will conduct and contribute research on issues concerning Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander literature and writing.
To find out more information on FNAWN and you can become involved please contact Cathy

Get published online

Share your news and contribute to our community

Writing across a range of genres provides opportunities for emerging writers to gain valuable experience, and for established writers to share their insight. The FNAWN website is a space to share news about what's happening in our community, as well as to provide a platform for First Nations writers to review works. If you have an article you would like to publish, we have created three types of posts. They include:

  • Booklub - a review on a published book by an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or an international Indigenous person. 
  • What's On - this includes launches, upcoming programs, event summaries.
  • Professional articles - this includes useful hints and tips for writers, editors, and publishers.
Each post will be shared across all our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and our monthly newsletter. For more information about the editorial schedule, please contact Cathy (
Copyright © 2014 First Nations Australia Writers' Network, All rights reserved.

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