Volume II 2021


Message from the Yvette Holt, Chairperson:

Greetings and welcome to the summer edition fnawnee-news. Well, what a year 2021 has proven to be, a year like none other in modern memory. Lockdowns, border closures, endless cancellations, social isolation, working from home, enforced travel restrictions. With the COVID pandemic reigning down upon all of us, one of the few cost-free simple pleasures which kept me sanely buoyant throughout those COVID seasons was personal time and commitment toward WRW; walking, reading, writing. I appreciate that not everyone was able to get out and walk, but during national lockdowns I was typing poetry and prose life and love on a borrowed red-ribboned 1976 Olivetti out in the desert and all I could do to keep motivated was to walk from one great ancient storytelling mountain to the other with sheets of crumpled A4 in my pockets for every now and then self-edification. The things we do when no one is watching?

Suffice to say that 2021 for First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and illustrators was a year that witnessed many of our writers continuing to soar with state, territory, and national awards, packed-out online webinar and Zoom attendances, as well as First Nations story, poetry, audiobooks being recorded and published at record industry rates and showing no signs of receding. This is of course incredibly fabulous news for all lovers of great literature – reading and sharing our stories, via traditional publishing, illustrations, and listening to our authors delivering their stories audiobooks and podcast – just brilliant.

Speaking of storybooks and reading – over the month of November FNAWN are teaming up with our good friends at Booktopia to bring our members an e-gift certificate valued at $50 (exclusively to FNAWN members) as a heartfelt thank you and that we are all thinking of you, from Australia’s leading First Nations peak-industry literary organisation. Be sure to grab your e-gift certificate from Karen Wyld

We cannot wait to shake off the lockdowns and cancellation cobwebs of 2021, as collectively we look forward to gathering for the FNAWN National Summit 2022, formally known as the IVNFW Fourth National FNAWN Workshop – a late April or early May date is to be confirmed. Your host city will be Adelaide. Sponsored and proudly partnered with the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement, Flinders University.

As the borders now open-up around Australia, international travel reignites, and literary festivals illuminate across the states and territories FNAWN are working behind the scenes and hand-in-glove alongside our emerging, established and multi-published authors to bring our members front and centre at major literary festivals, regional arts, and with outreach to remote communities and the Torres Strait Islands throughout 2022.

As the much-anticipated FN COVID Anthology (AP Australia Poetry) launches over late summer, we will then turn our writings to the next chapter in FNAWN/AP’s partnership with the #BLM Anthology for 2022-2023 publication.

Let’s give a very warm FNAWN welcome to our new Members:

Albert Holt (QLD)
Samuel Wagan Watson (QLD)
Jonathon Slottje (QLD)
Debbie Bargallie (QLD
Lenora Thaker (QLD)

Rhanee Lester (SA)
Sonya Rankine (SA)
Stephen Pappin (SA)
Jasper Wyld (SA)
Lenore Bagnara (SA)

Melanie Mununggurr (NT)
Thomas Mayor (NT)

Michelle Hyde (ACT)

Pauline Clague (NSW)
Dakota Feirer (NSW)
Tara June Winch (NSW) France

Marcia Langton (VIC)
Claire G Coleman (VIC)

In Conversation series:

FNAWN’s fortnightly In Conversation was well received from late July through until mid-September. Well-attended throughout the series were the humour, stories, tips, reflections, and memories from Samuel Wagan Watson, Melissa Lucashenko, Bruce Pascoe, and Nardi Simpson. Let’s hit repeat over summer with a further stellar line-up of First Nations presentations.

Have you submitted your order for a FNAWN facemask yet? Thanks to Vista Print we are offering one per FNAWN member – select your design from one of the following then simply send your selection and postal address to Karen Wyld to receive your complimentary postage-free facemask. (Please not these masks are not intended as a medical device nor a PPE)

Good News and Congratulations:

Dr Jeanine Leane for being the first First Nations woman to be recognised for the SLAM School of Literature Art and Media Poetry Award 2021 Winner for her poetry manuscript Gawimarra-Gathering.

Professor Anita Heiss for signing an agreement with Simon & Schuster for two new books.

Lisa Fuller who recently won the 2020 ACT Book of the Year Award for her YA novel Ghost Bird. Ghost Bird has been released in the UK through Old Barn Books. Congratulations Lisa!

Nardi Simpson’s Song of the Crocodile has been listed for numerous awards in 2021, and won the 2021 ALS Gold Medal. Congratulations Nardi.

Dub Leffler (illustrator), who was honoured in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for the book Strangers on Country.

Dominc Guerrera won Queensland Poetry’s 2021 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Prize QLD Poetry for Unwelcome to Country. Too good, Dominic!

Melanie Saward was a recipient of a Penguin 2021 Write It Fellowship.

Karen Wyld was awarded SA Writers 2021 SA First Nations Writers Fellowship.

FNAWNees: We’d love to share you good news in the next e-newsletter which will be coming out just before Xmas, so please let us know via email

David Unaipon Award 2021

Please note that the following announcement includes the name of a deceased person.

With respect, FNAWN Board shares the announcement of the David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer.

Shortlisted was FNAWN Board member Chella Goodwin, for her collection Politiks.

Award Winner Ngankiburka-mekauwe (Senior Woman of Water) Georgina Williams, for the poetry collection Mekauwe=Tears Volume #1 (Notes for Song)1970-2020.

Members’ New Releases:

There have been lots of exciting new releases from FNAWNees in 2021. Including:

Promoting books around the country throughout the COVID months has proven to be a trying and complex engagement for many writers, there has been dozens of multi launches online but as our members have expressed – it is not the same as face-to-face readings with shifting camaraderie from in person to online.

Here at FNAWN we get it. We appreciate and truly understand how vital it is for our authors to get out into those public creative spaces and to promote their amazing pieces of works. We would like to hear from those who have books rearing and ready to launch from 2022, let us move with you as we launch 2022 the year of the Summit, the year of literary festivals, the year of community grassroots and national events, the year of international cultural literary exchanges for FNAWN and so much more.

Check out FNAWNee Jazz Money’s exciting book launch of how to make a basket if you’re in Sydney?

For those in Briz Vegas the only place you will want to check-in on Saturday 20th November, is at the Sovereign Stories – First Nations literary salon and afternoon tea.

Awards, Residencies and Other Opportunities

Cordite Poetry is seeking submissions for their next issue. Edited by Elfie Shiosaki, the theme is KIN.

Griffith Review is seeking submissions for issue 76: Acts of Reckoning, to be edited by Teela Reid. Submit by 18 November 2021.

Varuna First Nations Fellowships for 2022 close on 15 December 2021.

Kill Your Darlings2022 KYD New Critic Award offers $1000 and 5 regular paid columns to the winner. Applications close 30 November 2021.

Boundless 2022 Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship Program closes on 22 November 2021.

The 2022 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript closes on 30 November 2021.

The Penguin Random House (PRH) Literary Prize for an unpublished manuscript closes on 14 December 2021.

Elevate is a $5,000 career development grant opportunity open to First Nations writers, editors, illustrators, and arts workers in the literature sector. Closes 14 December 2021.

Copyright (C) 2021 First Nations Australia Writers' Network. All rights reserved.

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