Celebrating The Classics

Participating Chair: Debra Dank • Evelyn Araluen, Ellen Van Neerven and Yasmin Smith

4.00 PM – 5.00 PM
Manning Clark Hall
Kambri Cultural Centre (ANU)

A new literary project sets out to change the way we tell the story of Australian literature. Join series editor, Yasmin Smith and a stellar panel of writers as they celebrate the first edition of First Nations Classics. Essential reading for all generations.

This session is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund

Presented in conjunction with University of Queensland Press


EVELYN ARALUEN is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland Literary Journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry has been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship, and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation. Evelyn's debut collection Dropbear was shortlisted for the 2021 Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection and the 2022 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and won the 2022 Stella Prize. It was Highly Commended for the 2021 Anne Elder Award.


ELLEN VAN NEERVEN is an award-winning writer of Mununjali and Dutch heritage. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. They have written two poetry collections: Comfort Food, which was shortlisted for two awards, and Throat, which won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Multicultural NSW Award and Book of the Year in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.


YASMIN SMITH is an editor, writer and poet of South Sea Islander, Kabi Kabi, Northern Cheyenne and English heritage. Beginning her publishing career at the black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project, she has worked across literary fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and poetry. Yasmin was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize in 2020, with her most recent work published in Australian Poetry Journal’s Best of Australian Poems 2022. She is currently an editor at University of Queensland Press where her work includes overseeing their groundbreaking First Nations Classics series.


DEBRA DANK is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman, married to Rick, with three adult children and two grandchildren. An educator, she has worked in teaching and learning for many years – a gift given through the hard work of her parents. She continues to experience the privilege of living with Country and with family. Debra completed her PhD in Narrative Theory and Semiotics at Deakin University in 2021. Her book We Come With This Place won a record four NSW Premier's Awards in 2023.