Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    State Library Indigenous writing fellows named

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    State Library Indigenous writing fellows named

    A story about family resilience and survival and an historical tale with a science fiction twist are the winners of the 2016 black&write Indigenous Writing Fellowships, announced at State Library of Queensland today.

    Minister for Science, Innovation and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said that although the quality of manuscripts from applicants across Australia was outstanding, the judges eventually selected “Terra Nullius” by Claire Coleman and “Clear Water White Death” by Dylan Coleman as the fellowship winners.

    “There were some powerful stories and wonderful prose and poetry among this year’s entries, but the stories of our two winners stood out,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Both are exceptional work and deserved to be published, which will happen through the black&write! project.

    “It’s great to see Indigenous writing being nurtured and promoted Australia-wide from right here in Queensland.” 

    Claire Coleman, a Noongar writer from Western Australia, was thrilled to be awarded a Fellowship for her manuscript ‘Terra Nullius’, which she wrote while travelling Australia in a caravan.

    “For six months I wrote it in a fever, doing two to five thousand words a day,” Ms Colemman said.

    "When I started the book I didn’t know if I could write it or tell the story I wanted to.

    “I wrote the novel to provoke empathy, I wanted to change people’s minds and help them understand, so that people sitting on the fence will fall off it.”

    Although ‘Terra Nullius’ is historical fiction set in southern Western Australia, it explores the realities of Aboriginal lives and a cry for understanding with a sci-fi twist which Ms Coleman won’t reveal until her manuscript is published.

    Her co-winner was Dr Dylan Coleman, a Kokatha-Greek woman from Thevenard, South Australia, whose manuscript ‘Clear Water White Death’ is a tribute to her father.

    “I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity to work with the black&write! team to have my family’s story heard,” Dr Coleman said.

    “My journey as a writer hasn’t just been about my writing, but also about finding a safe place for healing to happen.”

    ‘Clear Water White Death’ centres around a Greek-Aboriginal family living on the far west coast of South Australia, and touches on the complex stages of loss, grief and mental illness which affect family and community.

    Each year two Indigenous Writing Fellowships are awarded through State Library of Queensland’s (SLQ) black&write! project.

    SLQ CEO and State Librarian Sonia Cooper said the Fellowship winners would work with SLQ’s experienced black&write! team which is dedicated to furthering the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors.

    “Our Fellows will receive dedicated collaborative support from the black&write! editorial team to develop their manuscripts, as well as $10,000 in prize money and a publishing opportunity with Hachette Australia,” Mrs Cooper said.

    The black&write! team includes the inaugural black&write! Editing Intern and now Senior Editor, Ellen van Neerven, who earlier this month was co-winner of the Indigenous Prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for her book Heat and Light, and current Editing Interns Yasmin Smith and Grace Lucas-Pennington.

    The black&write! judges also awarded four highly commended entries in the 2016 competition to:

    • Jeanine Leane (ACT) for ‘Piece of Australia’
    • Waverley Stanley Jnr (Qld) for ‘The Adventures of Waverley Stanley Jnr’s Life’
    • Boyd Quakawoot (Qld) for ‘The Song of Jessica Perkins’
    • Ashleigh Johnstone (NSW) for ‘Descend’.

    Visit slq.qld.gov.au for more information on the black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing project and other works produced by the team.

    Entries for the 2017 Writing Fellowships open late 2016.

    Media contact: Daniel Lato 0438 830 201