Welcome to First Word, The newsletter from the First Nations Australia Writers' Network.
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Edition 17 - March 2016

Message from the Chairperson

Hi Everyone and welcome to another edition of the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) newsletter. We have been pretty busy with many wonderful things happening in our literary world.  Our members continue to shine as representatives of us as First Nations Australia writers, poets and storytellers.

My first call of duty is to congratulate Jane Harrison and her team for the successful inaugural Blak & Bright Festival held in Melbourne. I was very honoured to be involved in the 'Borrow a rare (living) book' where people were asked to grab (gently) an Elder, settle down in a comfy chair with a cuppa and some damper for some yarning with living treasures. It was a wonderful session and I was privileged and honoured to sit alongside 3 other amazing Elders who had a vastness of knowledge and spirit. For me as the Chairperson of FNAWN I have a vision that one day we will have a Jane in every State and Territory. How wonderful would that be?
I think that most of you know that this will be my last newsletter as the Chairperson and next month at our AGM in Sydney I will officially step down from the Board. I know I have tried a few times before to make this happen but this time this is it! I proudly pass on the baton to our next Chairperson and I know whoever that will be, they will be dedicated and committed to make a difference to First Nations Australia writers, poets and storytellers. Our AGM will also bring new Directors and together with our current Directors I can see great things happening for FNAWN, so I will take this opportunity to thank them all right now. I would like to take this time to thank Cathy Craigie as the Executive Director for her commitment to FNAWN and to our literary world that we belong to. Cathy's vision and skills has played a major role in the success of FNAWN, she has given FNAWN her dedication and I thank her with all my heart. I take this time to thank many others as well and as always too many to name but here is just a few; Tony Duke, Mark Stapleton, Jill Eddington and all others who have been involved with FNAWN over the years we couldn't have done it without you.
I would like to take this chance to again welcome our new Directors and our new members as FNAWN looks forward to another successful year representing First Nations Australia poets, writers and storytellers.  For me though the most important 'thank you' that I can give today is to you our members.  So here's to you our 'FNAWNees' thank you all for your love, support and commitment to me and to FNAWN because without you there really wouldn't be a FNAWN.

Happy writing everyone. Stay strong. Stay deadly.
In unity and love always.

(Aunty) Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Awards, Festival News and Book Launches

Wyld Words Bookshop - Weaving Workshops in March and April
Not just a bookshop, Wyld Words is also an enthusiastic weaving hotspot. Located in Port Noarlunga, South Australia, you can enrol in weaving workshops on the Wyld Words website.

2016 Grieve Writing Competition

Hunters Writers Centre is hosting the 2016 Grieve Writing Competition. Write a 500 word story or a poem up to 36 lines. $5000 in prizes to be won. Competition closes on the 26th June.

More information is available on the Hunter Writers Centre website.

The Barbara Jefferis Award

The Barbara Jefferis Award is offered for 'the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society.' In 2016 the Award is valued at $55,000, including a $50,000 prize for the winner.
For more information visit the ASA website.

Call for Volunteers and Artists - Queensland Poetry Festival 2016 
This year the Queensland Poetry Festival will celebrate its 20th festival from 25 - 28 August 2016. The theme for this year is Lost Language, Found. We are inviting proposals from poets, spoken word artists, monologists, storytellers, groups and performers interested in being part of this year’s festival. This year’s festival has a strong focus on indigenous and first nation voices, as well as QLD poetry & poetic traditions. Artists and Volunteers are invited to visit the QPF website for more information.

News from the Network

Tangkanungku Pintyanthi Fellowship Winner
Congratulations to Ali Cobby Eckermann for her win of the Tangkkanungku Pintyanthi Fellowship of $15,000 at the 2016 Adelaibe Festival Awards for Literature (National awards).

New Publication - Harry's Secret by Anita Heiss
Harry takes a seat, all alone, and in one quick second, grabs a palm-sized sketchpad he's got wedged between his jeans and stomach, and pulls a small HB pencil from behind his ear. He starts to draw quickly, nervously checking that he's not being watched. Harry knows everyone things skating is cool, but he also knows that his friends think drawing isn't. Harry's secret is an upbeat novel for junior readers. Harry and his friends are funny, warm-hearted and energetic, always on the go and looking out for each other. Harry's dilemma is one many kids will relate to - whether it's artistic talent or some other hobby or ability that they fear being teased for. Published by Scholastic.

Lemons in the Chicken Wire
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, life writer and essayist from Gunnedah and Tamworth, north-western New South Wales. In 2015 Alison was awarded one of to Indigenous Writing Fellowships by the State Library of Queensland's black&white! project. Written over four years and inspired by small fragments of her own life, Lemons in the Chicken Wire is Alison's first published collection. 

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
Copyright © 2016 First Nations Australia Writers' Network, All rights reserved.

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