Welcome to First Word, The newsletter from the First Nations Australia Writers' Network.
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Edition 14 - November 2015

Message from the Chairperson

First I would like to pay my respects to our cultural warriors who have passed before us, they have now been added to our Honour Roll on our website. Aunty Hyllus Noel Maris, Aunty Ida West, my beautiful Tidda Lisa Bellear, Aunty Maureen Watson and Aunty Doris Pilkington.

I hope you have all writing up a storm and all is well in your world. As always it's been a busy month for FNAWN and our FNAWNees.

This weekend the Board met in Sydney to continue to develop new partnerships and strategies that will assist our members in the literary world that we live in, both nationally and internationally.

Since the life of FNAWN I believe that we have been successful in achieving ground breaking initiatives to further the advancement of our First Nations Australia poets, writers and storytellers by providing opportunities that never existed before. For us as a people to be successful in the writing world we need to have a united voice and I believe FNAWN has assisted this to happen. The achievements of our members have been fantastic and each time I see another book published, another launch, another presentation, another workshop being conducted my heart sings. For me I'm a great believer in practice makes perfect and a way to achieve that perfection of course is to read the books, join a writing group and attend a workshop.

I know next year the Blak & Bright, Victorial Indigenous Literary Festival will be held in Melbourne with the deadly Jane Harrison organising and co-ordinating so if you get the opportunity to go please do, I am hoping to be there.

For more details please email Well that’s it for my blurb this month so I will close with, stay strong, stay deadly and happy writing.

As always in Unity
(Aunty) Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Awards, Festival News and Book Launches

Giving This Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia
This collection features interviews with and essays on the work of 7 Aboriginal writers, Kim Scott, Romaine Moreton, Jeanine Leane, Alf Taylor, Doris Pilkington Garimara, Melissa Lucashenko and Marie Munkara. In these interviews the writers talk about the development of Australian indigenous literature and the conditions which have given rise to their writing. They discuss their childhoods, family histories and the regions in which they have lived. They reflect on their education and the books they have read; about the importance of humour, the reasons for their choice of a particular genre and what aesthetic and cultural work they see it as undertaking. They talk about how they conceive of their audiences and issues pertaining to cross-racial scholarship. They also discuss identity, racism, violence, spirituality, indigenous sovereignty and the various futures they imagine for themselves and the broader community. Launch - 5th December, Gleebooks, NSW.

The Art of Memoir Writing

Lisa Fuller and others will be looking at the Art of Memoir Writing with the ACT Writers Centre in Canberra. The panel is part of the 2015 Anne Edgeworth Fellowship. The panel is on Wednesday 25th November.

Save the Date! Keep up with Australian Literary Events - Key Dates for 2016-2017
We've created a one-page stop for Australian Literary Events, including Festivals and Prizes. Each month we'll update the page when new events and dates become available.

News from the Network

Approaching Indigenous characters and culture
Should non-Indigenous fiction writers avoid writing about Indigenous culture and characters? What protocols should they follow if they do write Indigenous characters?
Read more ...

Jim Everett in Conversation with Aunty Babara Nicholson

Jim Everett - puralia meenamatta, will be in conversation at the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence at the University of Woollongong on Tuesday 24th November. He is currently working on his first novel at his home on Cape Barren Island in the Furneaux Group of Islands, north-east Tasmania. 

Bruce Pascoe's Sea Horse (Review)
Recently reviewed by Joy Lawn in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Joy says, Twelve-year-old Jack and his family often camp at Seahorse Bay, which is "skirted by a crescent of golden sand" and protected by a reef where they catch crayfish, abalone and fish. Jack glimpses part of a sunken boat when snorkelling. His father teaches him to dive so that they can explore and raise the wreck together, while trying to avoid the shady-looking man with binoculars. Pascoe has carefully integrated past horrors that Indigenous people suffered at the hands of white pirates and sealers into the tale, as well as the story of Jack's grandfather's experience as a "stolen child" in a home where "they knocked the children around something terrible". In contrast, the seahorse is a refreshing talisman and symbol of the natural world, particularly when the boat is renamed Seahorse. The seahorse living inside the boat is safely relocated and Jack's generous family also offers empathy and hope to the man-in-black.

Indigenous Writers' Mentoring Program Announced
The NSW Writers' Centre is pleased to announced that it has now 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 story telling, Elaine Lomasfor 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.

Member Awards

Sharon Mununggurr
The 2015 Dungala-Kaiela Writing Award for Poem, Lyric or Rap was awarded to FNAWN member Sharon Mununggurr for Wamba Wamba Woman. Sharon Mununggurr is an emerging Koori writer currently base din Brisbane. She previously spent 20 years in Arnhem Land. Sharon is a Wamba Wamba woman who grew up in Echuca on the Murray River. She completed a Master of Indigenous Wellebing at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales.


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 © 2015 First Nations Australia Writers' Network, All rights reserved.

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