Shortlist for the 2015 Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers

Sponsored by Trinity College at the University of Melbourne and supporters, the Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, now in its third year, recognises the talent of young Indigenous writers across Australia. Each year, the prize alternates between fiction and poetry; this year, the prize is for the best poem (up to 88 lines) by an Indigenous writer under 30.

First place is $5000, publication in Overland’s print magazine, and a three-month writer’s residency at Trinity College, the oldest student residence at the University of Melbourne. Two runner-up prizes will also be awarded.

The three judges for the 2015 competition – Charmaine Papertalk-Green, Overland’s Toby Fitch and Trinity College’s Katherine Firth – have now decided on a shortlist of six outstanding poems from up-and-coming Indigenous writers.

Overland and and Trinity College are pleased to announce the shortlist for this year’s Nakata Brophy Prize:


evelynaraluenphotoLearning Bundjalung on Tharawal’, Evelyn Araluen

‘Learning Bundjalung on Tharawal’ is about my father’s language, my lover’s garden, and the birds that fly between them.

Evelyn Araluen is a PhD candidate and educator working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney, and a founding member of Students Support Aboriginal Communities, a NSW grassroots activist network. Her father’s people are Bundjalung, and her mother’s Wiradjuri. She lives in Dharug country with Waiali the rescue possum.


Carnegie‘I turn away in shame’, Tessa Carnegie

‘I turn away in shame …’: a poem crafted in a window seat draped in the afternoon light on a train to bathe in the sea, depicting a memory spanning many years reduced to 30 lines between a daughter and her father.

Tessa Carnegie is an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman. She is a visual artist, poet, and writer. Most importantly she is a daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece, and friend. Her art is a reflection of her past, present, and future.


Grant‘A sad reminder’, Justin Grant

‘A sad reminder’ is a poem about the heart and how lonely it can be to face life.

Justin Grant was born in the Northern Territory and came to Melbourne when he was 17, where he has been living for eight years. Justin acts, writes and directs, and has been nominated for a Victorian Indigenous Performer Award. He has always loved storytelling.


Prehn‘Cassandra’, Ryan Prehn

Cassandra is a layer-cake of comparison and allusion, lifelong disenchantment, and backseat apathy.

Ryan Prehn is living and studying in Melbourne. Recently, he’s been writing experimental nonfiction and poetry.


Ellen van Neerven_photo_credit_Bridget Wood‘Expert’, Ellen van Neerven

‘Expert’ is a write-back to personal relationships that endanger black women’s bodies and minds.

Ellen van Neerven is a young Yugambeh woman from South East Queensland. She is the author of the award-winning Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), and the new collection of poetry, Comfort Food (UQP, 2016).


Whittaker‘greenstick’, Alison Whittaker

‘greenstick’ picks at the fracturing of Indigenous gender systems under settler colonialism – and draws up blueprints for feminine sovereignty in body and self.

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi interdisciplinary poet and essayist, working in media law and Aboriginal women’s law and policy. Alison has words in Archer, Colouring the Rainbow, Tincture, Seeds & Skeletons, Meanjin and Ngiya. Lemons in the Chicken Wire, her debut collection, was launched through Magabala Books in March 2016.


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