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black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowships
or kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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black&write! Writing Fellowships are awarded to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers with an unpublished manuscript. Two Fellowships are awarded every year to assist with manuscript development, and a publishing opportunity.

The Fellowship is run by the black&write! national project run at State Library of Queensland, with the support of Australian Council for the Arts, Hachette Australia and Magabala Books.

The Fellowship was first offered in 2011. Not awarded in 2017.

Source: SLQ website.


2021 winner Tylissa Elisara for 'Wurrtoo'.
2021 winner Susie Anderson for 'The Body Country' [poetry collection].
2020 winner Carl Merrison for 'Backyard Sports'.
2020 winner Eunice Day for 'Rabbits by the Fence Line'.
2019 joint winner Lisa Fuller for unpublished manuscript 'Welshpool'
2019 joint winner Tania Crampton-Larking for unpublished manuscript 'Brightest Wild'
2018 joint winner y separately published work icon Song of the Crocodile Nardi Simpson , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2020 19679450 2020 single work novel

'Darnmoor, The Gateway to Happiness. The sign taunts a fool into feeling some sense of achievement, some kind of end- that you have reached a destination in the very least. Yet the sign states clearly, Darnmoor is the gateway, and merely a measure, the mark, a point on a road you begin to move closer to a place you might really want to be.

'Darnmoor is the home of the Billymil family, three generations who have lived in this 'gateway town'. Race relations between Indigenous and settler families are fraught, though the rigid status quo is upheld through threats and soft power rather than the overt violence of yesteryear.

'As progress marches inexorably onward, Darnmoor and its surrounds undergo rapid social and environmental changes, but as some things change, some stay exactly the same. Our protagonist characters are watched (and sometimes visited) by ancestral spirits and spirits of the recently deceased, who look out for their descendants and attempt to help them on the right path.

'When the town's secrets start to be uncovered the town will be rocked by a violent act that forever shatters a century of silence.

'Full of music, Gamillaray language and exquisite description, Song of The Crocodile is a lament to choice and change, and the unyielding land that sustains us all, if we can but listen to it.' (Publication summary)

2018 joint winner Lystra Bisschop For YA manuscript 'The Upwelling'.
2016 joint winner Dylan Coleman For unpublished manuscript Clear Water White Death
2016 joint winner y separately published work icon Terra Nullius Claire G. Coleman , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2017 11354750 2017 single work novel science fiction

'In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.

''Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.'

'The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

'This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history. This TERRA NULLIUS is something new, but all too familiar.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2015 joint winner y separately published work icon Lemons in the Chicken Wire Alison Whittaker , Broome : Magabala Books , 2016 9148827 2016 selected work poetry

'Winner 2015 black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship – a partnership between the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project and Magabala Books.'

'From a remarkable new voice in Indigenous writing comes this highly original collection of poems bristling with stunning imagery and gritty textures. At times sensual, always potent, Lemons in the Chicken Wire delivers a collage of work that reflects rural identity through a rich medley of techniques and forms.'

'It is an audacious, lyrical and linguistically lemon flavoured poetry debut that possesses a rare edginess and seeks to challenge our imagination beyond the ordinary. Alison Whittaker demonstrates that borders, whether physical or imagined, are no match for our capacity for love.' (Source: Newsouth Books website)

For unpublished manuscript.
2015 joint winner y separately published work icon My Father's Shadow Jannali Jones , Broome : Magabala Books , 2019 16433191 2019 single work novel young adult

'Kaya is completing her Higher School Certificate when she is woken in the middle of the night by her mother. They are to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father is ‘not coming back’. He has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals.

'Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying. Kaya is not sure who to trust: her mother’s new friend, the policeman or her new friend, Eric, from the local store. She is also recovering from memory loss caused by PTSD after a chilling encounter with the criminals. She is seeing a psychologist in an attempt to recall the evidence she might have to give in a forthcoming trial.

'Her best friend, Jenna, has gone overseas and Kaya is trying to make sense of what is really happening. Jannali Jones has crafted a thrilling story which stays on the edge right to the end.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 joint winner Adrian Stanley Could Be Worse
2014 joint winner y separately published work icon Becoming Kirrali Lewis Jane Harrison , Broome : Magabala Books , 2015 8272099 2015 single work novel young adult

'Set within the explosive cultural shifts of the 1960s and 1980s, Becoming Kirrali Lewis chronicles the journey of a young Aboriginal teenager as she leaves her home town in rural Victoria to take on a law degree in Melbourne in 1985. Adopted at birth by a white family, Kirrali doesn't question her cultural roots until a series of life-changing events force her to face up to her true identity.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2013 joint winner y separately published work icon Calypso Summer Jared Thomas , Broome : Magabala Books , 2014 6579876 2014 single work novel young adult

'Calypso Summer is a story told by Calypso, a young Nukunu man, fresh out of high school in Rastafarian guise. After failing to secure employment in sports retail, his dream occupation, Calypso finds work at the Henley Beach Health Food shop where his boss pressures him to gather Aboriginal plants for natural remedies. This leads him to his Nukunu family in Port Augusta and the discovery of a world steeped in cultural knowledge. The support of a sassy, smart, young Ngadjuri girl, with a passion for cricket rivalling his own, helps Calypso to reconsider his Rastafarian façade and understand how to take charge of his future.' (Source: publishers website)

2013 joint winner y separately published work icon Rift Breaker Tristan Savage , Broome : Magabala Books , 2014 7256621 2014 single work novel science fiction young adult

'After conducting welding repairs on the outer hull of a space vessel, token human and lowly engineer Milton Lance returns to a silent, gloomy interior. The crew are dead, and the only survivor he can find is an annoying, pointy-eared simian. When a mysterious gun-toting woman rescues the stranded pair, an unlikely trio is formed. But escaping the ship is the easy part, for Milton discovers he is not an ordinary human at all, but a saviour of worlds. Rift Breaker is a sci-fi action adventure driven by distinctive characters, and explores themes of alienation, identity and independence.'(Source: Publishers website)

2013 joint winner y separately published work icon Deadly D and Justice Jones : Making the Team Scott Prince , Dave Hartley , Broome : Magabala Books , 2013 6183684 2013 single work children's fiction children's

'Eleven-year-old Dylan has to move from Mt Isa to Brisbane and he’s not happy. But as soon as he gets to Flatwater State School he finds a former Mount Isa Miner’s footy supporter in his principal and a ‘Broncos tragic’ as a teacher. He also makes a friend in Justice Jones and an enemy in Jared Knutz. Dylan is cursed with an abnormality transforming him into a fully-grown man whenever he gets angry. Always a worry, the ‘curse’ proves to be a blessing in the city when his alter ego attracts the interest of the Broncos during a class excursion to watch the team train. Dylan becomes ‘Deadly D’ – a star player with the fire to rival even the great Prince! But how will he continue to keep the ‘curse’ a secret?' (Source: Newsouth Books website)

2012 joint winner y separately published work icon Bakir and Bi Jillian Boyd Bowie , Tori-Jay Mordey (illustrator), Broome : Magabala Books , 2013 Z1922956 2013 single work children's fiction children's

'Based on a Torres Strait Islander creation story with illustrations by 18-year-old Tori-Jay Mordey. Bakir (rock) and Mar (storm bird) live on a remote island called Egur with their two young children. While fishing on the beach Bakir comes across a very special pelican (Bakir’s totem is a pelican) named Bi. A famine occurs, and life on the island is no longer harmonious. One day Bakir and Bi disappear and Mar and the children are forced to make the journey to another island by canoe ... and so begins the adventure. There are supernatural themes, totemic connections and kinship relationships — and the island names are imaginary as are the characters. The moral of the story is that everyone has a destiny and a purpose in life.' (Publication summary)

2012 joint winner y separately published work icon Rise of the Fallen Teagan Chilcott , Darwin : Magabala Books , 2013 Z1926554 2013 single work novel young adult fantasy (taught in 1 units) Rise of the Fallen is a young adult paranormal romance, the first in a series of novels with demons, angels and elementals at war for power. This contemporary, super-sharp story with sardonic humour features a feisty main character in Emilie and a love triangle. The battles take place in familiar settings: shopping malls, street corners, the Australian bushland and up and down the Queensland coast. Emilie, fire elemental, and Cael, water elemental, are wanted by the entire demonic realm. Lying low in the human realm – as students at a Brisbane school – Emilie encounters the mysterious and charming Soul, and soon finds herself lost in the very world she's been running from for centuries.
2011 joint winner y separately published work icon Grace Beside Me Sue McPherson , Broome : Magabala Books , 2012 Z1855255 2012 single work novel young adult

'A warmly rendered story of life in a small town that interweaves the mundane with the profound and the spiritual. Told through the eyes of teenager, Fuzzy Mac, awkward episodes of teen rivalry and romance sit alongside the mystery of Nan’s visions and a ghostly encounter. Against a backdrop of quirky characters, including the holocaust survivor who went to school with Einstein and the little priest always rushing off to bury someone before the heat gets to them, Grace Beside Me is full of humour and timely wisdom.' (Source: Magabala Books)

2011 joint winner y separately published work icon Ruby Moonlight Ruby Moonlight : A Novel of the Impact of Colonisation in Mid-North South Australia Around 1880 Ali Cobby Eckermann , Broome : Magabala Books , 2012 Z1861301 2012 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'A verse novel that centres around the impact of colonisation in mid-north South Australia around 1880. Ruby, refugee of a massacre, shelters in the woods where she befriends an Irishman trapper. The poems convey how fear of discovery is overcome by the need for human contact, which, in a tense unravelling of events, is forcibly challenged by an Aboriginal lawman. The natural world is richly observed and Ruby’s courtship is measured by the turning of the seasons.'

Source: Magabala Books.