Albany Writers Workshop – Kim Scott with Jim Everett

| 14 Apr 2015

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Jim Everett and Kim Scott were guests at the Vancouver Arts Centre, Albany, Western Australia last month. Here is Jim’s round-up of their very busy and wonderfully engaging time.

Sunday 22nd February – 5.30 pm to 7 pm

Kim and Jim interviewed by local author Sarah Drummond at the Vancouver Arts Centre, Albany. This was an interesting interview where Kim’s background differed from Jim’s, and the discussions covered writing to politics, to family history and Country. Questions were taken and the ensuing discussions could have gone on for some time if not for the time limit for others to take the room.

Monday 23rd February

Kim and Jim held a 2 hour workshop with students from 4 schools – 19 participating students and their 4 teachers/carers. Kim has a teacher’s experience and led the workshops, which worked very well. The students were very attentive and showed great interest. We all enjoyed this first day of short story writing, and sharing stories written by students.

Tuesday 24th February

2 hour workshop – Kim led the workshops again, with Jim taking a role with writing exercises. The students came with some ‘homework’ for the workshop exercises of the day. Included music and song writing as a means of introducing a form of creative writing. Other writing exercises were undertaken on poetry, and discussions on ‘why write’, and ‘finding ways’ to write, ‘triggers’, and family characters etc.

The students were well pleased with the workshops, and said they wanted more, and longer workshops set on Country, and camps. I can say that we all enjoyed the experience of writing in a workshop, and that the whole event was well worth doing.

There was also a bit of a write up in the local press:

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Featured: Marissa McDowell

| 18 Mar 2015

This piece originally appeared in Overland as part of their Emerging Poet Series. Thank you to Marissa McDowell, Peter Minter and Overland for permission to reproduce here.
Marissa McDowell
Marissa McDowell, a Wiradjuri woman born in Cowra NSW, grew up in Canberra where she began writing poetry at sixteen. In her mid-twenties she shared a poem called ‘Caged’ as a father’s day gift, and started writing seriously again after joining the ‘Us Mob’ writing group in Canberra. She enjoys working in all forms of creative media. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Honours with the University of Canberra she went on to produce ten short documentaries for National Indigenous Television NITV. During this time she was the recipient of a solo photo exhibition with PhotoAccess. She is a radio producer for 2XXfm, and on game-day works at GIO Stadium Canberra as an audio visual assistant for the Brumbies and Canberra Raiders. Her poetry was recently published in the Maori literary journal Ora Nui, in a special issue featuring work by Aboriginal and Maori writers.

Burning Bridges

I aint burning all my bridges
Been walking down this road for far too long
Got no voice, got no song

Paid my toll
With everything except my soul
Nothing left but dust for beggars and thieves

It’s not a walk in the park
Or a Sunday stroll
Just genocide

Justified by religion
Over a land that no-one owns
Leaders that follow
And followers that can’t lead

It’s all the same
When it comes to playing this war game
The rich get richer and fame becomes their throne
A life of the uncompassionate with no ration for change

I aint burning all my bridges
They’ve already been burnt
I aint leaving my home
It’s already left
All the humble lies amongst the rubble
And the rubble piles towards the sea

Walking down this road alone
Past the fighting
Past the wrong
Towards the meek, towards the strong

No blue left in the sky
Only clouds that bleed, scream and cry
For the dying in the streets
Nothing left but the smell of rotting meat
No more pitter-patter of tiny feet

Anger turns to rage
And rage turns to hate
It remains until we forgive but not forget
A vicious cycle of pain and self-destruction
Is the path some choose in the end we all loose
Vengeance is a force that shouldn’t be forged
Into our bodies and into our souls

I aint burning all my bridges
They’ve already been burnt
I aint leaving my home
It’s already left

Who are you reading now and why do they turn you on?
I am currently flicking in-between books for different reasons. At the moment when I want some relaxation and down time I’m reading Tiddas by Anita Heiss. Tiddas is about the relationship between a group of female friends who are all experiencing different emotions and challenges from their past to present. The relationships between the women have a realness to them and touch on the type of struggles most women who read the book have either encountered or can relate to. The other book I am reading, Photoshop Compositing Secrets by Matt Kloskowski, is for learning purposes. I am teaching myself how to better composite photographs, which is a hobby of mine. I love writing and mixing up words with music and images to create a whole audiovisual experience.

How often do you write? Do you have a writing practice?
I think of myself as having two kinds of poetry writing styles. The first is emotive writing, the second just having fun, being creative and at times laughing at myself for being ‘lyrically challenged’ as I like to put it. I write what I am feeling, which helps me to reflect and deal with things that affect me emotionally. I usually don’t share my thoughts and feelings with others so writing poetry is a way for me to externalize and let go of those thoughts and feelings. I carry a notepad around with me wherever I go. I also have a notepad in the console of my car, when I stop at a red light or in car park I jot down my thoughts and feelings. My poetry is mostly emotional and sometimes lyrical, I write to the beat of music or to the tune of nature, footsteps on a pavement, whatever sounds happen to be surrounding me at the time. Sounds and colour affect me in the same way that words do. They release me emotionally.

When you think of Australian poetry, do you see an elephant in the room? If so, what is it?
The elephant in the room is many different things. I think, touching on deeper feelings, is the reality of cause and effect, with such things as religion, genocide, poverty, the treatment of First Nations peoples worldwide, climate change, sexual and physical abuse and sex. Australian poetry brings an openness and rawness to words and feelings and unleashes it in a creative way where everyday people can feel free to express themselves about the many elephants in the room.

A Passage to India: Reflections on Bangalore and Mysore

| 18 Mar 2015

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The wonderful Jeanine Leane attended the Bangalore Literature Festival with other First Nations Australia writers. Read her reflection.

September 2014 was to be my second visit to India – despite having majored in South Asian History in a Bachelor of Arts degree in the early 1908s. In 2012 I travelled to Hyderabad for a conference on Patrick White – and so I was prepared to some extent for the crowds and the traffic.

I travelled to Bangalore and later Mysore with three deadly Aboriginal writers: Marie Munkara, Dylan Coleman and Brenton McKenna. Conversations had and time spent with Marie, Dylan and Brenton was first and foremost the best and most valuable part of my journey to India.

Marie, Dylan, Brenton, Mridula and I arrived in Bangalore late on a Thursday evening. I was tired and eager to get to the hotel – but there is no point worrying about time in India because all things there take longer – a bit like Koori time and I quickly get used to the tranquil, clam atmosphere of those around me – our hosts in Bangalore and Mysore and it was a great way to come to know people better.

On first sight the Bangalore Literature Festival looked huge. There were large stages and marquees in a very scenic park just across the road from where we were all staying. What I like about the BLF is that it was very warm and friendly and there is a tremendous amount of interest in Aboriginal writings and scholarship. I enjoyed panels I did with Dylan and Marie and with three very impressive Dalit writers. Brenton’s presentation for children on his graphic novel was great to sit in on. And despite the initial appearance of being large – there was lots of space and time to get to talk to Indian writers and activists.

FNAWN’s 2014 US Road Trip

| 04 Feb 2015
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Cathy Craigie with Tim Tingle, a Choctaw writer at the US National Book Festival.


In late August last year, the Executive Director, Cathy Craigie and FNAWN’s Tony Duke did a 10 day road trip in the USA. Here is Cathy’s Report:

FNAWN had previously identified the USA as a key market and we were keen to pursue opportunities to promote our writers. We met with publishers, festivals, writing centres and other literary organisations and met with much enthusiasm and interest. We met so many interesting people on the trip but for me there were a couple of highlights.

We visited Poets House at Battery Point, a magnificent centre right on the water and funded entirely from philanthropic and private funding. We wondered what could be achieved at home with the same kind of philanthropic support. We also attended the US National Book Festival in Washington. The sheer size and scale of this one day event is hard to image back in Australia. With over 200,000 people attending, I was overwhelmed by the number of families who came and the interest in encouraging kids to read.

FNAWN are now working on getting our writers exposure in the USA and will be following up on the contacts we made in the USA. We are hoping to facilitate a program beginning in 2015 so keep an eye out for news on our US projects.

Anita Heiss and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

| 04 Feb 2015


Last month, Dr Anita Heiss with ARIA award-winning performer, composer and didgeridoo player William Barton joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to perform Peter Sculthorpe’s Beethoven Variations and Barton’s Birdsong at Dusk. These performances were highlighted with poetry and prose readings by Anita.

Anita performed Shake by Romaine Moreton, Unity by the late Kevin Gilbert, Sydney Real Estate for Sale by Brenda Saunders, and A New Day Dawning by Richard Frankland.

Anita says

I felt very blessed by the experience and was honoured to share the stage with Uncle Max Eulo, William Barton, Mayrah Sonter and conductor Johannes Fritzsch.

Yellamundie: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Playwriting Festival 2015.

| 10 Jan 2015


Every time a story by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is told, the story itself and the act of telling that story is a very real confirmation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that our culture is alive and strong and continuing to survive.

Moogahlin Perfoming Arts with presenting partner Carriageworks, is delighted to announce the launch of Yellamundie: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Playwriting Festival 2015.

Yellamundie [a Dharug word meaning storyteller] is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture and is an initiative of the National Indigenous Theatre Forum held in Cairns, Queensland in 2010.

The central aim of the Yellamundie Festival is to discover, develop and promote new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander playwriting that displays potential for further creative development and/or production. Yellamundie provides both emerging and established playwrights with a meeting place to have their work developed within a supportive and nurturing artistic and cultural context, showcasing their skill and talent and gaining access and connection to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal theatre industry networks.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander playwrights from across Australia, will have the opportunity to submit new work, with a final six scripts chosen for creative development, with a director, dramaturge and actors.

Each script will also receive a public reading to an audience of community, general public and invited industry.

Yellamundie 2015 will run from Monday 27th July to Saturday 8th August 2015.

Applications open on Wednesday 3rd December and application and guidelines forms will be available to download from the Moogahlin website (

Applications close on Wednesday 4th February 2015 and successful applicants will be notified by Friday 6th March 2015.

For further information please contact festival artistic director Frederick Copperwaite at either or 0422 049 333.

Click to download the following documents:

Echoes …. of Knowing Home by Alexis West

| 07 Jul 2014


FNAWN would like to congratulate member Alexis West on the successful June run of her play Echoes …. of Knowing Home at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.
Continue reading

From London to Canberra: An Us Mob Writing Workshop with Bruce Pascoe

| 07 Jul 2014

Members of the Us Mob Writing Group with Bruce Pascoe

A message from Bruce.

An amazingly diverse group of First Nations writers assembled for a writing workshop at AIATSIS, Canberra for three days in June.

The writers had a diversity of experience which was matched by their interests which ranged across: the musical history of Aboriginal protest songs, poetry, children’s fiction, speculative fiction, women’s studies, autobiography, drama and history.

Participants took part in workshopped writing, editing and book length plots and characterisation.

The writing standard of those involved was of a very high standard and I hope that all women will launch into their major projects as outlined at the workshop. The time has to come when the planning stops and the production begins.

A traveller’s report by Bruce Pascoe

| 07 Jul 2014



In June, First Nations Australia and New Zealand opened the ANZ Festival in London with cultural productions prior to the first feature of Tim Winton’s interview. The participants, Ali Cobby Eckerman, Anita Heiss, and Bruce Pascoe took part in over 16 events and the reception to our writing was very enthusiastic. Book sales were encouraging and the range of our events ranged from discussions of feminist literature, black/white history, poetry, novels, teenage fiction and fantasy.

While Anita took part in the Great Debate, Ali and Bruce visited the gravetsone of Yammerayanyea at Eltham with the young Murri bass player, Andrew Story, who performed with Ruthless Jabiru in a tribute to oodgeroo Noonuccal in The Chapel.

They also participated in a session where an English author was presenting his novel based on the Aboriginal cricket team which visited London in the early 1800s. They asked him why he had not contacted the descendants of those men as part of his research. His answer was that the time difference between Australia and England prevent him!

Barbara’s World by Edoardo Crismani

| 07 Jul 2014

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This week will see the broadcast nationwide of NITV, of Barbara’s World. Teni Burns, says about the film,

A finalist in the prestigious SASA Awards, and featured in the recent Women with Heart screenings, Barbara’s World is a fascinating insight to a world that is both challenging and victorious. The Barbara of the title is mother to to filmmaker Edoardo Crismani and it is she, who under his tender direction gives an eloquent and vivid account of her history. And what a history it is! Descended from South Australia’s 1926 Indigenous boxing champion, ‘The Panther’, Barbara brings us into a world that is relatively unknown but is endlessly engrossing. Startling in her composure, touching in her loving recollections of struggles and joys past, this beautiful woman graciously allows us to see life through her eyes. Extremely candid and confronting at times, Crismani never ventures into cloying sentimentality as he gently allows the narrative to unfold. The use of archival photography enhances the story and the impressive original music accompanies it without intruding. Heartrending and heart-warming, this lovely and relevant film presents a Woman of Heart. Five stars.

The film is also being screen at the South Australia State Library and other sites as part of their NAIDOC celebrations.


Filmmaker, Edoardo Crismani