Welcome to First Word e-newsletter from
First Nations Australia Writers Network
Greetings and welcome to the Spring Edition of our First Word Newsletter!
The last few months has been an exhilarating time of celebrations nationally and internationally with multiple First Nations’ writers from across all states and territories showcasing their extraordinary literary skills in fields of creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, memoir, novella, history and autobiography to name a few genres.
As well as the highs came the lows, the loss of our FNAWN matriarch, co-founder of FNAWN and First Chairperson, Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert, was a monumental loss to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature as we know it and Aunt will deeply missed by all. The double impact of grief and sorrow at that time came suddenly with the loss of my own dearly beloved mother one week later. Suffice to say the last couple of months has been an undressing of very deep, reflective and emotive chapters in my life. Certainly, for me sharing undiluted quality time and being anchored firmly among family and friends has kept me buoyant as well as the writing, reading, and then more writing. Thank you to all for your kind messages of condolences, care and love over the last couple of months – your thoughts and prayers were dearly felt by my family and I, and very much appreciated throughout our time of great sorrow.
FNAWN Literary Awards
Our FNAWN Literary Awards has been extended until Friday 11th October, please continue to send through your entries with the following guidelines:
Short Story Award:
FNAWN Members only (excluding Executive Board Members of FANWN)
Two division prizes for this Award category:
Under 30s Prize $2,000
Members 31 years and over Prize $2,000
Judges: Jared Thomas and Rachel bin Salleh
Entries close midnight EST Friday 11th October, 2019
Word limit is 2500 words, this includes sub-headings and titles
Please include your full name, email address and phone number
Entries must be the original work of applicant and have not been previously published in print or online
There are two categories for the Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert Poetry Award 30 years of age and younger, and open entry for members born post-1989
The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into with either the judges, or the Executive Board of FNAWN
The copyright to the work will be retained by author
Prize winners may be required to participate in media-related events associated with the FNAWN competition
Further publication of the award-winning Poem is encouraged to acknowledge the Poem as winner of FNAWN Literary Award 2019
Award-winners will be announced 1st November, 2019.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held from 12:00pm – 2:00pm on Saturday 19th October, at the Boomanulla Oval Meeting Room, Narrabundah, Canberra. FNAWN are seeking nominations for the Executive Board of Directors this includes Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and three Executive Board Members, we greatly encourage an inclusive cross-section of First Nation writers and storytellers from state and territories in particular where there is an acute under-representation among our First Nation writers. FNAWN will update our Members in the coming week with information in preparedness for our AGM.
A very warm welcome to our new FNAWNees
Professor Marcia Langton
David C Curtis
I am pleased to announce that I have accepted an appointment as a Board Director for the Australian Poetry, Wheeler Centre, as such, I will continue to endeavour cultivating and promoting the very unique and original spoken and written language of poetry inclusive of First Nation and LGBTQI Australian poets.
Around the First Nations:
The continued success of the Australian Anthology Volume IIV published by Australian Poetry and launched nationally at the Alice Springs Writers Festival (Northern Territory Writers Centre) was overwhelmingly and spectacularly highlighted with First Nation and Territory writers, more so as a watershed for Northern Territory poets from Central and remote Australia, the Barkly Shire and the Top End of the NT. Indeed a grand collection of anthologised talent from across Australia has been captured within this volume.
The Cherry Picker’s Daughter Wild Dingo Press cordially invite you to attend the National Launch of Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert’s long-awaited childhood memoir The Cherry Picker’s Daughter, 2:00pm-3:00pm Saturday 12th October, National Library of Australia, Canberra. To be launched by Samantha Faulkner (Us Mob Writing UMW ACT) Canberra and myself. If you are in Canberra around that date please do join us in celebrating the memory and written narrative of Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert as we launch the book among members of her family, friends and community the extraordinary literary journey of her life. Catering of local Canberran bushtucker canapés and afternoon tea will follow on from the launch along with book sales at the National Library foyer.
The Wheeler Centre will also be hosting a Victorian launch of the The Cherry Picker’s Daughter on Monday 7th October, from 6:15pm-7:15pm with Dr Jeanine Leane and Timmah Ball. A public event. All welcome.
A brilliant evening was held by all who attended the tribute to Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert’s The Cherry Picker’s Daughter at the Avid Reader’s Bookstore, West End Brisbane on the 16th September. FNAWNees Professor Anita Heiss and Melissa Lucashenko lead a tribute and discussion on the book, and the life and times of Aunt’s much anticipated childhood memoir.
Please be sure to check out Wild Dingo Press’s event page which will highlight following launches around Australia of The Cherry Picker’s Daughter.
Blak & Bright Rewinding from September and one of the many highlights on the FNAWN calendar was the hugely successful Blak & Bright Writers Festival (Melbourne) which included many FNAWNees performing, reading, acting, facilitating over three-days of jam-packed First Nation literary events. ONE of the highlights for FNAWN was the hosting of the Pitch Blak Breakfast among leading Australian publishers and editors at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Federation Square. Attended by more than thirty guests the breakfast event was an opportunity for First Nation writers to pitch their literary ideas to editors and representatives of publishing house including; Magabala Books, UQP, Penguin Random House, Wild Dingo Press, Hachette, Text Publishing and individual publishing agents. Congratulations to Jane Harrison and the team for hosting such a brilliant writers festival once again.
Queensland Poetry Festival the iconic poetry festival hosted a swag of First Nation poets from around Australia including; Samantha Faulkner, Puralia Meenamatta Uncle Jimmy Everett, Brenda Saunders, Claire Coleman, Ellen van Neerven, Melanie Munnunngurr-Williams, and Raelee Lancaster. Over three days Brisbane city became awash with poetic execution in the spoken and written word. The event kicked off with announcements of the QPF Poetry Awards and we congratulate Dr Jeanine Leane for taking out the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Award (for the second time) and Claire G Coleman for her co-joint first place winning entry of the Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Award.
Giiyong Festival – A Celebration of Aboriginal Culture on the Far South Coast of New South Wales FNAWNees and a galaxy of First Nations’ writers from across Australia descended upon the pristine south-coast of NSW to come together and to honour, pay respects and celebrate all there is to commemorate with First Nations’ storytelling, history, poetry, language and performance. Ali Cobby Eckermann, Sassi Nooyoom (aka Meaghan Holt), Jeanine Leane, Uncle Ossie Cruse, Bruce Pascoe, Glenn Shea, Rodney Kelly and FNAWN Patron Jackie Huggins drew the crowds into a mesmerising literary festival.
Canberra Writers Festival Acclaimed Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch flew over from provincial France upon a whirlwind two-
month literary visit to Australia. At the Canberra Writers Festival Tara lit the festival up with her insight, methodology on writing and cultural artillery on language, humour, memory and what it means to have in essence, a sense of long-belonging with her long-awaited novel The Yield – ten years in the making. If you have not yet picked up a copy, do. You will not be disappointed.
A massiveCONGRATULATIONS to Melissa Lucashenko for her award-winning novel Too Much Lip! The Miles Franklin Literary Award winner for 2019 – Too Much Lip, a novel that has been nationally recognised and judged in accordance to the Award as having the highest Australian literary merit thus presenting Australian life in any of its phases. Too Much Lip, just too deadly. Well done Melissa!
CONGRATULATIONS to Lisa Fuller for winning the blak&write! Fellowship 2019, Lisa’s book Ghost Bird will be launched at the Muse in Canberra on Saturday 19th October 4:30pm-6:00pm. If you are in Canberra please join us in celebrating the launch, which will be hosted by award-winning Australian novelist Anthony Eaton.
CONGRATULATIONS to Nola Turner-Jensen winner of the First Nation Australia Writers Network HARDCOPY Fellowship Program 2019 in partnership with FNAWN and the ACT Writers Centre – says Turner-Jensen, I am privileged and gob-smacked to have received this amazing fellowship. Storytelling is my ancestral inheritance and I am honoured to be heard.
CONGRATULATIONS toshort-listees of the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. There are First Nations works in almost all of this year's categories, with members shining brightly. Fingers crossed for Melissa Lucashenko, Ellen van Neerven, Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, Alison Whittaker. and Magabala books.
If you have any literary news you would like to share among our network of FNAWNees we want to hear from you, please email email@example.com we welcome photographs, book launches, community events and news, award fellowship and scholarship news from each state and territory.
"the pen is the tongue of the mind" - Horace
On behalf of the FNAWN Executive Board
Warmest Regards, Yvette
Top Shelf picks from around the First Nation(s)…
More opportunities and upcoming events
The Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence (FIRE) at Macquarie University is presenting a free two-day symposium on Indigenous Futurisms on Wednesday 6th November - Thursday 7th November. Day One is Indigenous Futurism and Day Two is Queer Indigenous Futurism. Speakers include Dr Sandy O'Sullivan (USC), Dr Grace Dillon (Portland State University), Dr Ambelin Kwaymullina (UWA), Dr Tawhanga Nopera (University of Waikato), Alison Whittaker (UTS), Claire G. Coleman (Author of Terra Nullius) and Maddee Clark (University of Melbourne).
Australia’s leading festival of Indigenous and culturally diverse Australian writers, Boundless, will return to Western Sydney on Saturday 26 October 2019.