If you missed it, you can catch up on this recording or you can listen to this podcast.

at wheelercentre.com

Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today

What are you up to on the evening of Thursday 21 May? How about watching poetry readings from some of the country’s finest First Nations poets, straight from their homes to yours?

Fire Front is a new anthology of First Nations poetry, edited by Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal academic Alison Whittaker. Featuring both established and emerging poets, it showcases the breadth of First Nations poetic voices, alongside essays from leading Aboriginal writers and thinkers who offer their own reflections on the power of the form. 

In this special showcase of Fire Front contributors, hosted by Whittaker, we’ll hear a Welcome to Country from Parbin-Ata Carolyn Briggs, followed by readings from Tony Birch, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi, Jeanine Leane, Natalie Harkin, Lorna Munro, Raelee Lancaster, Luke Patterson and Evelyn Araluen. Then, Araluen will speak with Whittaker about how this landmark collection came together.

This event will be available to watch on this page.

It’s an uncertain moment for the arts, for writers and for everybody. If you’re in a position to support our efforts to bring you books, writing and ideas from a safe distance, you can make a contribution here. Thank you for your generosity.

Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today

Who?

Portrait of Tony Birch

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.

Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

Portrait of Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ali Cobby Eckermann is the first Aboriginal Australian writer to attend the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 2014. Her verse novel Ruby Moonlight was published in the USA in 2015 and a collection of poems translated and published in Kolkata, India. She returned home and launched her seventh book Inside My Mother in Alice Springs.  In 2017, Ali was the first Indigenous poet to receive the Windham Campbell Prize for poetry from Yale University. 

Portrait of Alison Whittaker

Alison Whittaker

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute at UTS. 

Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015. Her latest poetry collection, Blakwork, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and won the QLA Judithe Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. She is the editor of the anthology Fire Front: First Nations poetry and power today. 

Alison was also the co-winner of the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for ‘Many Girls White Linen’. She was the Indigenous Poet-in-Residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.

Portrait of Evelyn Araluen

Evelyn Araluen

Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Born, raised, and writing in Dharug country, she is a Bundjalung descendant.

Portrait of Parbin-Ata Carolyn Briggs

Parbin-Ata Carolyn Briggs

Carolyn is a Boon Wurrung senior elder and is the chairperson and founder of the Boon Wurrung Foundation. A descendant of the First Peoples of Melbourne, the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung, she is the great-granddaughter of Louisa Briggs, a Boon Wurrung woman born near Melbourne in the 1830s.

Carolyn has been involved in developing and supporting opportunities for Indigenous youth and Boon Wurrung culture for over 40 years. In 2005, she established the Boon Wurrung Foundation, which has been responsible for significant work in cultural research, including restoration of the Boon Wurrung language. The Foundation also helps connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage.

Portrait of Charmaine Papertalk Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green is from the Wajarri, Badimaya and Southern Yamaji peoples of Mid West Western Australia. She has lived and worked in rural Western Australia (Mid West and Pilbara) most of her life, and within the Aboriginal sector industry as a community agitator, artist/poet, community development practitioner and social sciences researcher. Her poetry has appeared in Antipodes, Artlink Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, the Kenyon Review and the Lifted Brow, as well as in the anthologies The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry, Ora Nui: A Collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature, The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets and Those Who Remain Will Always Remember: An Anthology of Aboriginal Writing. She lives in Geraldton, Western Australia.

Portrait of Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi

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.

Portrait of Raelee Lancaster

Raelee Lancaster

Raelee Lancaster is a writer, collaborator and creative industries professional based in Meanjin (Brisbane). She is the co-director of the National Young Writers Festival (NYWF). 

Portrait of Jeanine Leane

Jeanine Leane

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, teacher and academic from southwest New South Wales. After a longer teaching career, she completed a doctorate in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University. Her first Volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first collection of stories, Purple Threads, won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature.

Portrait of Natalie Harkin

Natalie Harkin

Natalie Harkin is a Narungga woman and activist poet from South Australia. She is a senior research fellow at Flinders University with an interest in decolonising state archives. Natalie is currently engaging archival-poetic methods to research and document Aboriginal women's domestic service and labour histories in SA. She has been published widely, including Dirty Words with Cordite Books and Archival-poetics with Vagabond Press.

Portrait of Lorna Munro

Lorna Munro

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. 

Portrait of Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson is a Gamilaroi poet and folklorist living on Gadigal lands. He is interested in the ways bioregional identities and consciousness are expressed through localised and vernacular forms. Luke’s research and creative pursuits are grounded in his extensive work with Aboriginal and other community-based organizations across Australia.

Where?

More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.