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 writers’ 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 in partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival.
Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi AKA Vika Mana, is a proud Torres Strait Islander and Tongan storyteller that takes many forms. They descend from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes of Mer Island and the village of Fahefa in Tonga. They perform poetry, write criticism, breathe life into worlds and lastly, can share a joke or two, max. That’s because they only know exactly two jokes.They've written for Overland, The Big Issue, the Saturday Paper and several publications both at home and internationally. Vika is also a part of the FAMILI collective, rapping about Afros and abolition. In 2019, Meleika became one of ten writers that were chosen to be a part of The Next Chapter scheme from the Wheeler Centre.
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. She is a is a 2019 Next Chapter recipient.
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.
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. Jasmin is a 2019 Next Chapter recipient.
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland literary journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry have been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship, and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug Country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation.