An Evening with First Nations Australia Writers

"Because of her I can": poetry readings with Ellen van Neerven, Yvette Holt, Jeanine Leane & Charmaine Papertalk Green. Sovereign People-Sovereign Stories: a panel discussion with Kim Scott, Melissa Lucashenko, Alexis Wright and moderated by Cathy Craigie

Saturday 25 August 2018
6.00PM – 8.00PM
National Library of Australia

The First Nations Peoples of Australia have never ceded their Sovereignty and to date there has been no Treaty settlement. Sovereignty embodies the freedom of a Peoples to self-determine and self-management of their lives and their futures. In Australia in 2018 the issues facing First Nations Peoples and their communities are grounded in the denial of their sovereign rights and the refusal to negotiate and agree a Treaty settlement. Join First Nations Australia authors and poets Ellen van Neerven, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Yvette Holt and Jeanine Leane who will read from their poetry on the 2018 NAIDOC theme of “Because of her we can.” Followed by a panel discussion led by Cathy Craigie featuring award winning First Nations Australia authors Kim Scott and Melissa Lucashenko and via skype from Melbourne Alexis Wright in discussion and exploration of the idea of Sovereign People - Sovereign Stories. This event is being presented as a fundraiser for the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) as a part of the 3rd First Nations Australia Writers Workshop, Canberra 2018.

Ellen van Neerven is a writer of Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch heritage. Her first book,Heat and Light  (UQP, 2014), was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Heat and Light was also shortlisted for The Stella Prize, the Queensland Literary Award for State Significance, and the Readings Prize. Ellen was named as a Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelist in 2015. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry,  Comfort Food  (UQP, 2016) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and Highly Commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Until 2016 Ellen was the Managing Editor of black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project at State Library of Queensland. She received the 2017 Queensland Writers Centre Johnno Award and the 2015 Express Media Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person in Literary Arts. She currently lives and works in Melbourne.

National multi-award winning poet, academic, comedienne, feminist - Yvette Henry Holt heralds from the Yiman, Wakaman and Bidjara Nations’ of Queensland. A Human Rights Award Recipient (University of Technology, Sydney), in 2005 Yvette was awarded the Queensland Premier’s Literary David Unaipon Award for an untitled manuscript, her first publication titled anonymous premonition (UQP 2008), canvases an echoing universal collection of poetry and stories ceded amongst memories and dreams celebrating childhood, social justice, feminism, motherhood, womanhood, loss and love. Selected poems from anonymous premonition have since been published and translated into Mapuche Chile, Mandarin Chinese and French. anonymous premonition then went on to claim the Scanlon Prize for Poetry NSW (2008), Victorian Premier’s Literary for Indigenous Writing (2008), and the Kate Challis RAKA Award (2010). Yvette now lives and works in the Australian Central Deserts, promoting financial literacy and community education across 500,000,000 square kilometers. Yvette is currently completing the collection of her next titled manuscript of poetry and prose and enjoying the discovery of what lays beneath the lyrical desert skin.

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP), won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, 2012. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. In 2017, Jeanine was the recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonucal Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. The manuscript for her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was highly commended in the Black&Write Indigenous Writing Fellowships, State Library of Queensland, 2016 and was released in 2018 by Cordite Press.

Charmaine Green is from the Wajarri, Badimaya and Southern Yamaji peoples of Western Australia. She has lived and worked in rural Western Australia (Midwest-Pilbara ) most of her life in numerous roles in the Aboriginal sector industry as an artist/poet, community development practitioner and social sciences researcher. Charmaine writes under the name Charmaine Papertalk Green and publications include her book of poetry, Just Like That (2007), a children’s verse novel Tiptoeing Tod the Tracker (2014) and a poetry collaboration with fellow WA poet John Kinsella “False Claim of Colonial Thieves(2018) through Magabala Books.  Charmaine has poetry included in numerous anthologies and publications including Artlink Magazine (2018), The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry (2017), Kenyon Review (2017), Ora Nui: A Collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature (2014), Antipodes: Poetic Responses (2011), Those who remain will always be remembered : An Anthology of Aboriginal writing (2000) , Inside Black Australia : an Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry (1988), The Penguin Book of Australia Women Poets(1986) . Charmaine lives in Geraldton, Western Australia.

Kim Scott is a proud Noongar man whose most recent novel is Taboo (Picador, 2017).  Kim is founder and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Story Project, which is responsible for a number of bilingual (Noongar and English) picture books and regional performances of story and song. He has twice won the Miles Franklin Award – for Benang (1999) and That Deadman Dance (2010) – and received a number of other literary prizes.  His most recent novel Taboo is shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Award and winner of the 2018 NSW Premiers Literary Awards Book of the Year. Kim is currently Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University.

Melissa Lucashenko is a multi-award winning Goorie writer. Her most recent novel, Mullumbimby, was awarded the Deloitte Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, won the Victorian Premiers Prize for Indigenous Writing, and was longlisted for both the Stella and Miles Franklin awards as well as the Dublin IMPAC Literary Prize 2015. Melissa was awarded the 2016 CAL Fellowship to work on her new (2018) novel, Too Much Lip. Melissa is a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, as well as a founding member of the prisoner’s human rights group, Sisters Inside. She writes passionately about ordinary people and the extraordinary lives they lead.

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria.  She is renowned as the author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, and the collective memoir Tracker.  She has published two previous works of non-fiction, Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council, and Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory.  Her books have been published widely overseas, including China, India, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland.  She is the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature in the University of Melbourne’s Australia Centre and the winner of the 2018 Stella Prize for her remarkable collective biography, Tracker.

Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaroi and Anaiwon woman from Northern NSW. She grew up in a large extended family from Moree and across the Northern Tablelands. She has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over 30 years and is passionate about Aboriginal capacity and community development utilising the arts (particularly literature) and she tries to combine the two together in much of her work. Cathy is currently working on several literature projects and continues to use stories as a tool for First Nations capacity building.