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WORKSHOP BRINGS TOGETHER INDIGENOUS WRITING SECTOR

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers from across Australia will gather at the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane from 9 10 May 2013, for the inaugural Workshop being presented by the First Nations Australia Writers’ Network.

With a focus on sustaining the sector and skills development, the Workshop will bring together 65 emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers from across Australia, as well as international guests from Canada and New Zealand, to participate in peer-to-peer workshops, formal presentations and round table discussions.

“Our writers have won some of the most prestigious literary awards in Australia, says First Nations Australian Writers Network National coordinator, Cathy Craigie. Two Aboriginal authors have won the Miles Franklin Award Alexis Wright with Carpentaria in 2007 and Kim Scott with The Deadman Dance in 2011. Herb Wharton was awarded the 2012 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

The depth of talent and experience that exists within our community is extraordinary and it is now time for us to work together to strengthen our future, says Cathy.

The program includes some of the most highly regarded writers in Australian literature today. A keynote session will feature Alexis Wright in conversation with Dr. Sandra Phillips. In a panel presentation, Doing it our way, Melissa Lucashenko hosts authors Herb Wharton, Dr. Anita Heiss and Kim Scott. While international perspectives will be presented from story teller, Sharon Shorty (Canada) and writer, Anton Blank (New Zealand).

Sophie Cunningham, Chair of the Australia Council Literature Board and Jill Eddington, Director of Literature will chair industry roundtable sessions; one for publishers and another for the wider sector including representatives of the writers festival and centre networks and key organisations. Other participants include Philip McLaren, Bruce Pascoe, Alexis West, John Harding, Sam Wagan Watson and Lionel Fogarty.

Lee-Ann Buckskin, Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, which provided $300,000 in three year strategic partnership funding to the First Nations Australian Writers Network, congratulated the group on its acheivement.

We are pleased to partner with the First Nations Australian Writers Network on this significant milestone, says Lee-Ann. It is a strong testament to the exciting storytelling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and its recognition worldwide.

It builds upon the Australia Council support for research, international exchanges with Canada and New Zealand through the Honouring Words initiative, and the groundbreaking Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature.

Everyone involved in establishing this week’s workshop are to be congratulated, and we look forward to the outcomes that will inform future policy initiatives in this vibrant and culturally significant sector, concluded Lee-Ann.

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