Invincible Spirit

Moderator: Alistair Ott • Bebe Backhouse, John ‘Mukky’ Burke, Lay Maloney and Ellen Van Neerven

12.30 PM – 1.30 PM
Kambri Cultural Centre (ANU)

Nangamay Mana Djurali (Dream Gather Grow) is a ground-breaking collection of First Nations Australia LGBTQIA+ poets and storytellers – a world first. We’ve invited contributors from across the country to come and share their work and have a yarn. Don’t miss this life-affirming, love-affirming lyrical showcase.

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


BEBE BACKHOUSE is a descendant of the Bardi Jawi people of the Kimberley region of north-Western Australia, and an award-winning writer and creative leader who’s called Naarm home for many years. Beginning his creative practice as a classical pianist and composer, Bebe later made a name for himself as a producer and director of theatre, festivals, and public art projects in New Zealand, France, and Belgium. A writer, poet, illustrator, speaker, and facilitator living on the unceded land of the Kulin peoples, Bebe's works encompass love, loss, identity, Aboriginal and gay existence, place, and Country.


JOHN MUKKY BURKE is an Elder of the Wiradjuri Nation. He lives in Wagga Wagga.


LAY MALONEY is a young storyteller of the Gumbaynggirr and Gunggandji nations and South Sea Islander heritage currently based on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm / Melbourne. They are the recipient for the black&write! Fellowship with the State Library of Queensland for their LGBTQIA+ YA manuscript titled Weaving Us Together. Lay is published in 'NANGAMAY dream MANA gather DJURALI grow – First Nations Australia LGBTQIA+ Poetry', edited by Alison Whittaker & Steven Lindsay Ross.


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.


ALISTAIR OTT (They/He) is a Wiradjuri Queer artist. Born on Gundungurra and raised on Ngunnawal Land, they were taught Dreamtime stories and their family's language and culture from their Ngama and Mudyigang. These stories, his time on country with mob and family, and his queer community inspire his writing; these are the spaces where his spirit resides. When they aren't writing, Alistair spends their time working in LGBTIQA+ community services and on their PhD at the Australian National University. He hopes to continue writing stories that spark joy for queer blakfullas like himself. Dyiramadilinya badhu Wiradjuri!