black&write! 2022 scholarship recipients announced


Black&write 2022! Bursaries for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers have been awarded to Queensland elder Herbert Wharton and Lay Maloney from Victoria.

Each scholarship is worth $10,000 and includes The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) editorial development black&write! editorial team and review for publication by Hachette Australia.

A rancher-turned-writer and descendant of the Kooma people, Wharton began writing poetry and spun novels in his 50s and published short story collections, poetry, and a novel for young adults. Wharton’s winning manuscript, “Bird Kingdom,” follows Gundu, a mischievous young boy who thinks he and his cat can chase away all the birds in the sky. When Gundu is suddenly transported to the Bird Kingdom, he faces the consequences of his actions.

“I see this scholarship as recognition and acceptance of Indigenous ways of seeing history that existed for thousands of years before the books were written,” Wharton said. “Birds are so important because they tell stories about things like law and order and marriage. Animals and birds tell stories like a book. You learn from them like going to school or university.

Lay Maloney, a Gumbaynggirr and Gunggandji person of South Seas Islander origin, was born in Cairns and raised in Yarrabah. Lay is a storyteller who focuses on writing and illustration. Maloney’s first work, Weaving Us Together, is a young adult manuscript about a non-binary Aboriginal person named Jean growing up on the northern coast of Australia. The story follows Jean through adolescence as they go through life’s ups and downs, including finding family, healing from trauma, and figuring out who they are.

“This is going to mean so much to me, my crowd, my community, my friends and my family, not just currently, but in a generation or two. These stories that have been ignored, suppressed and hidden are resurfacing,” Maloney said of a black&write win! camaraderie.

“During the Naarm lockdown in 2021, I was thinking a lot about my childhood. My friends, my family, my father, my place, my search for identity and belonging, and all the tears and laughter that had come and gone. The characters have become my children. As I wrote, they were real people with personalities and struggles. The story was all I thought about for months.

The judges also announced four highly recommended entries. They are:

  • Edoardo Crismani for “In Search of Billy Brown”
  • Bebe Backhouse for ‘if this is the end’
  • Samantha Faulkner for “Growing Up in Torres Strait”
  • Jacob Gallagher for “The Doubles”.

Now in its 11th year, the fellowships are open to all writers (published and unpublished) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent currently living in Australia, in the genres of adult fiction, young adult fiction , collection of short stories, collection of poetry and manuscripts of children’s books. The winners of last year’s black&write contest! the scholarships were Susie Anderson and Tylissa Elisara.

For more information on black&write scholarships, see the SLQ website.

KYD, black and writing! announce First Nations Writers-in-Residence

In related news, Kill your darlings (KYD) and black&write! have announcement Nadia Johansen and Bianca Valentino as KYDFirst Nations Writers-in-Residence for 2022.

Starting in June, Johansen and Valentino will commission, edit and publish original writing for KYDbuilding on the work of former writers-in-residence Allanah Hunt and Jasmin McGaughey.

Black&write! editing interns gain hands-on editing experience by helping black&write! fellows develop their manuscripts for publication, receiving support, training and mentorship from black&write! crew.

Pictured, left to right: Herbert Wharton, Ley Maloney.

Category: Awards Local News

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