First Nations writers are at the forefront of the most exciting writing being produced on this continent today, subverting creative forms and decolonising Australian literature. Four emerging First Nations writers from The Next Chapter scheme – Jasmin McGaughey, Racheal Oak Butler, Lorna Munro and Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi – discuss the creative process, writing for blak and settler readerships, and how they respond to expectations of genre, character and identity, with host Evelyn Araluen.
Presented with the Wheeler Centre.
Lorna Munro (Australian)
Lorna Munro, or ‘Yilinhi’, is a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman, multidisciplinary artist and regular radio and podcast host at Sydney’s Radio Skid Row. A long time active member of her Redfern/Waterloo community, her work is informed by her passion and well-studied insight in areas such as culture, history, politics and popular culture. Lorna has travelled the world showcasing her skills and distinctive style of poetry and political commentary. She was also the sole designer and creator of Sydney’s, and possibly “Australia's” first initiative to teach Aboriginal language through poetry in partnership with Red Room Poetry in 2015. Throughout her career she has been on stage, in films and on paper, namely compiling and editing Paper Dreaming: Our Stories Our Way. Lorna continues to work tirelessly mastering many art forms, raising funds, supporting and advocating for her community and her people on the local, national and international stage.
Racheal Oak Butler (Australian)
Proudly Gamilaroi, Racheal Oak Butler is a writer, performer, musician and self-defence teacher. Racheal has been writing for many years and has amassed a significant body of work including poetry, short stories, songs, performance and spoken word pieces. Racheal recently toured a spoken word piece, My Calling, as part of the Queerstories performances throughout Victoria and NSW. She is currently working with Ilbijerri Theatre Company as a performer in Scar Trees. Writing is fundamental to who Racheal is and although the message is sometimes raw and traumatic, it is also unique, powerful and truthful and goes to the heart of many key issues and experiences.
Jasmin McGaughey (Australian)
Jasmin McGaughey is a Torres Strait Islander from the Kulkalgal Nation, and African American. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and justice in 2016, but quickly realised her love was writing. She recently finished her Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing through the University of Queensland. Currently, she works at black&write! as an Editor Intern at the State Library of Queensland. Jasmin’s passions have always been reading and writing and she is proud to be able to work and learn in this field with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature.
Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi (Australian)
Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi is pretty hilarious and laughs too much, so much that her Black/Indigenous and Pasifika ancestors are probably tired of her. Lucky she alternates burdening the two sides of her ancestry who are from Mer (Murray) Island, from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes and Fahefa, Tonga. Meleika is also a literature and film critic. She loves talking about all things nerdy, rapping and creating, as well as decolonising spaces online and in real life. She is a storyteller that takes many forms; the most prominent, a poet. If she’s upset any of her ancestors whilst making this bio, she’s sorry.
Evelyn Araluen (Australian)
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland Literary Journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry has been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Her debut poetry collection Dropbear is forthcoming with Brow Books in 2020. Born and raised in Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.