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Welcome to First Word, The newsletter from the First Nations Australia Writers' Network.
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Edition 13 - October 2015

Hello Everyone


I hope you have all had a great month since the last FNAWN newletter. This month as always, has been an exciting month for FNAWNees.

We had Ali Coby Eckerman with Natalie Harkin performing at 
the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art showcasing and celebrating Indigenous culture - Tarnanthi 2015. 

Our Director Ken Canning and previous Director Barbara Nicholson together with FNAWN member John Muk Muk Bourke our 'Mukky' as he prefers to be called conducting workshops at Junee Jail. This program is supported by the South Coast Writers Group's, Black Wallaby's program.  

A few months ago I was inspired by the work of Ellen van Neerven with her book 'Heat and Light' and decided to venture into the world of short stories. Believe it or not at the final full stop I thought I was pretty good at this 'short story business' and in the end I wrote 4 short stories. One of them being a story titled 'The Cultural Prophet' I then heard about the 'Story wine short story' competition and decided to cut it down to 800 words as per competition requirement. I am very proud to say I was short listed together with 7 other writers out of 500 for the award .  I was pretty wrapped. While I didn't win for me it was about taking the chance and putting my work out there, this I have always found so very hard to do.

The moral of the story is 'don't be shame, be game,' write that poem, tell that story and take a chance and go for it. 

I hope that you all, especially you emerging poets and writers believe in yourself and your work and follow your dream and live your journey as a First Nation Australia writer, poet and storyteller.

As always in Unity
(Aunty) Kerry Reed-Gilbert
 
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Awards, Festival News and Book Launches


2015-16 NSW Writers' Centre Indigenous Mentorship Program 
The NSW Writers' Centre has selected the five emerging writers to participate in its 2015-16 Indigenous mentorship program. They are Barry Cooper for his futuristic crime novel, Kirsty Everett-Malesev for her novel about serious illness, visual artist Emma Hicks for her experimental storytelling, FNAWN member  Elaine Lomas for her rural romance novel and Donna McLaren for her novel about domestic violence.

Each of these talented writers will be mentored for a year by an established Indigenous writer under the leadership of mentor director Cathy Craigie.


Working with words: Kerry Reed-Gilbert

The Wheeler Centre, the venue for our National Workshop this year, has featured our Chairperson Kerry Reed-Gilbert, in an post Working with Words on their Books, reading and writing feature. Read more ... 


Kerry Read-Gilbert shortlisted for the Overland Story Wine Prize 
After receiving more than 500 entries in the second year of the Overland Story Wine Prize, Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert was short-listed. Congratulations! Find our more about the prize. 

 Australia Council's Indigenous Art Award nominations open

 Nominations are now open for the Ninth Annual Indigenous Arts Awards 2016. Now in its 9th year, the annual National Indigenous Arts Awards celebrate the achievements and artistic creativity of exceptional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and are presented at an awards ceremony on the 27th May each year. The Awards consist of the Red Ochre and the Dreaming Awards which decided by a national panel of Indigenous arts peers consisting of leading Indigenous artists, curators and arts managers from each state and territory, including the Torres Strait islands. Read more... 

Calypso Summer selected for the 2015 International Youth Library White Raven list 

The White Raven label is given to books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design. This list of books is compiled into the annual White Ravens Catalogue, which is introduced each year at the Bolonga Children's Book Fair. Congratulations Jared. 

News from the Network


FNAWN visit to Junee Goal
 
A busy time for FNAWN Director Ken Canning and former Director Barbara Nicholson ...

Read more ...


Charmaine Papertalk Green in conversation with Ali Cobby Eckermann at Tarnanthi Festival

I was particularly pleased to reconnect and spend some time with South Australian poet, writers and sculptor Ali Cobby Dckermann. Ali was involved in several Tarnanthi events - the Aboriginal Arts Fair held at Tandanya, our Mob 2015 exhibition and writing response poetry to artist yhonnie Scarce's glass installation "Thunder raining poison" in the Art Gallery of South Australia. Read more...  




Jared Thomas writes about the FNAWN Delegation to the United States 2015

The FNAWN delegation consisted of writers who have established careers or are highly regarded as evidenced through recent winning and shortlisting of major Australian and international literary awards. The delegation included FNAWN Executive Director Cathy Craigie, Tony Birch, Jeanine Leane, Dub Leffler, Bruce Pascoe, Ellen van Neerven and myself, Jared Thomas. Read more ... 

FNAWN representation at the 2015 ASA National Writers Congress

FNAWN was recently invited to send representation to the 2015 ASA National Writers Congress. Held at Luna Park in Sydney on 11 and 12 September, the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Congress theme was Reclaim, Reboot, Renew. Read more ... 

 
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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 executivedirector@fnawn.com
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Copyright © 2015 First Nations Australia Writers' Network, All rights reserved.


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