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Edition 26 

5 March 2019

Welcome to First Word
e-newsletter from First Nations Australia Writers Network

Message from the Board

Dear FNAWNees welcome to the second edition of the First Writers Newsletter for 2019,

Since our January newsletter FNAWN have been vigorously engaged with a number of writing projects as well as organising our FNAWN calendar of events for upcoming writers festivals throughout our states and territories 2019.

Firstly I am delighted to announce our newest FNAWNees, the Executive Board of FNAWN would like to extend a very warm welcome to the following members; collectively they bring with them an entire constellation and then some of literary wealth blended with theatre, screenwriting, editorial, poetry, award-winning authors, playwright, publishing acumen, academia and community storyteller armour:

Julie Janson
Rachel Bin Salleh
Melanie Saward
Sally Morgan
Belinda Whyte
Jo Allen
Makayla-May Brinckley
Waita Tafler
Emma Hicks
Around the First Nations: The 2019 Northern Territory Writers Festival is delighted to have FNAWN member Charmaine Papertalk Green as part of the exciting regional literary guest line-up for their May 16 - 19 festival in Alice Springs.

FNAWN have been invited to deliver workshops and panel discussions on the significance and continuity of First Nation writers, poets and storytellers at the Garrmalang Festival over two days which will be hosted on Larrakia Nation from the 23 – 26 May. As 2019 has been declared by the United Nations the International Year of Indigenous Languages, FNAWN are very honoured to partner with the Garrmalang Festival and look forward to finalising our workshop program with  Artistic Festival Director, Alisa Duff, we will be focusing on first-languages and how First Nation writers weave and thread their narratives from oracy to publication.  

It’s a CALL-OUT: The Australian Poetry AP has opened for submissions to the Australian Poetry Anthology Volume 7. I will be editing this collection with co-editor Magan Magan, this will be quite a unique edition of poetry for the AP anthology stable in terms of critical reviews, subscriptions and sales among international and domestic audiences. I would like to take this opportunity to invite our FNAWN members the opportunity to submit their poetry (waiving the Australian Poetry subscription fee) for this compelling collection of Australian poetry through the following submission link or directly to me  the closing date for submissions will be 15th March 11:59pm AEST. Australian Poetry will be launching this edition at the Northern Territory Writers Festival, Sunday 19th May.

FNAWN Executive Board are currently finalising the inaugural FNAWN Short-Story and Poetry Awards for 2019 – be sure to keep a look at out in our next newsletter for a call-out.

I would like to express a huge congratulation to FNAWNee Natalie Harkin (and Kent MacCarter (CEO, Managing Editor, Creative Director, Publisher) for their unwavering commitment toward encouraging and inspiring as many First Nation writers as they could possibly call to fill the Domestic: 89 edition of Cordite Poetry and Literary Review if you have not yet inhaled the poetry from Domestic: 89 please do so.

Says Natalie Harkin, I invited you to lean into this DOMESTIC sphere in all its homely undoing; to rupture the masquerading shape of cosy bliss; to plant seeds and haunt with your words; to unsettle and shape what survival looks and feels like – and you did. You lured me into other-worlds with your heart-on-sleeve, body-on-the-line words; a DOMESTIC fever-immersion that broke my heart and made me rage, laugh out-loud, question and delve deeper when I needed to know you more. You kept me awake. You got under my skin. None of it was easy.

Copyright Agency: Do you have editorial experience? Writing experience as well as mentoring experience? If so then the Copy Right Agency Cultural Fund is calling for you. The Copyright Agency has just announced twenty free mentorships - applications are now open. The mentorships largely take place on line, so mentors can be based anywhere with an internet connection, and they will try and cover every genre. All mentors are paid $75 per hour and the average mentorship is around 20 hours. Mentors do need to commit to being available for a minimum of 20 hours per year and they are appointed for a 2-year term. If you would like to view the Agreement and Application document please email me directly at
We would love to welcome mentors from FNAWN and I am hoping that you might have some suggestions. We need people with editorial experience, or writing experience along with some mentoring experience. – Juliet Rogers, Australian Society of Authors.
FNAWN Members:  A huge congratulations to Angelina Hurley for her script Black Beatles, Angelina has been awarded one of five Coypyright Agency First Nations Fellowship for 2019 at Varuna the National Writers House of Australia. Also congratulations to fellow First Nation writers: Raelee Lancaster, Jazz Money, Morgan-Lee Snell.

Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip is steamrolling off the press after being long-listed for the prestigious Stella Prize, and with news just in Too Much Lip has also been short-listed for the Multicultural NSW Award, congratulations Melissa.

Alexis Wright’s Tracker is continuing its award-winning trajectory, the NSW Premier Literary Awards has just announced Tracker has been short-listed for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction. Congratulations Alexis.

Congratulations to Professor Anita Heiss for her appointment at the University of Queensland, Professor of Communication. Well done Anita! 

Congratulations to Paul Collis for being awarded the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award, Canberra.

Writers SA: This month we were thrilled to hear of the first meeting from South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers for 2019. Coordinated by Edoardo Crismani and hosted at South Australian Film Corporation, the group is open to First Nations writers working in all forms and genres, from poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short stories, novels, writing for stage and screen, podcasting, songwriting - you name it - and creates a network to share ideas and offer support and encouragement for all aspects of writing life.  We would really love to hear about more members establishing their own groups.

Back row left – right Deanne Hanchant- Nicolls, Edoardo Crismani, Dr.Jared Thomas, Sandy Ross, Dr. Dylan Coleman, Alfred Lowe, Laniyuk Garcon-Mills, Dominic Guerrera, Courtney Hebberman
Front Row Director of WritersSA Jessica Alice (non-Indigenous guest speaker) and Sasha Smith


All First Nation writers are encouraged to submit their creative writing to the Verity La Black Cockatoo.

Be sure to check out this year’s HardCopy. Submissions are now open.

FNAWN’s next Executive Board Meeting will be held in the first week of May. Should you wish to discuss or bring anything to our attention, ideas, suggestions, performances, feedback, or information regarding regional festivals prior to the Board Meeting please email at

There is no perfect time to write. There is only now ~ Barbara Kingslover.

On behalf of the FNAWN Executive Board

Warmest Regards, Yvette
Chairperson FNAWN

Good news 

FNAWN members were recipients at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, held on 31 January. Kim Scott was awarded the Indigenous Writing award for his novel Taboo.
Siblings Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina were awarded the Young Adult prize for their novel Catching Teller Crow.

As mentioned in the Chair's report, FNAWN member Angelina Hurley is the recipient of a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship, to work on her script Black Beatles.
FNAWN Chair Yvette Holt is also a recipient, and will be writing a poetry collection titled Hands of My Mother.

New on the website

In the Blog section on the FNAWN website is Melissa Lucashenko’s keynote speech from the FNAWN national workshop, August 2018. This speech has been republished with person, after appearing in the Summer issue of Meanjin.

Also on the website, members' books are being added under Book Club (soon to be re-named What’s On The Shelf). If you’d like your books listed, please email

Prizes, fellowships and opportunities 

The inaugural Daisy Utemorrah Award for an unpublished manuscript of junior or YA fiction is open for submission until 30 April 2019. Launched as part of the WA Premier’s Book Awards, this national award is open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers. With support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winner will receive $15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books.

To support members with professional development, FNAWN are pleased to once again partner with ACT Writers Centre for a second year of the First Nations Australia Writers Network Hardcopy Scholarship. Hardcopy 2019 is open for writers of non fiction, with fiction being the focus in 2020. Email for information about applying for the FNAWN scholarship.

Penguin Random House Australia have just launched their Write It Fellowship. It’s a new mentorship program for unpublished writers across all genres (fiction and non-fiction for both adult and young readers), focusing on writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ+, Indigenous or CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) writers, or writers with a disability. Submissions close on 31 March 2019.

In 2019, Affirm Press’ Mentorship Award with Varuna Writer’s House will be focussing on young adult and middle fiction for the first time. Submissions close 18 March 2019.

National Young Writers’ Festival has an open callout for artist to be part of their 2019 festival. The event will take place in Newcastle over the Labour Day weekend. Submissions close 10 March 2019. 

Becoming a FNAWN member

Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer, poet or storyteller?
Do you write poetry, fiction, short stories, plays, screenplays, academic pieces about literature, or other forms of writing?

To discuss membership process, please email
For an application form, email 



Website has more news, opportunities and updates.

Submissions are welcomed for the bi-monthly FNAWN e-newsletter.

Email if you'd like to provide content for the website. 

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