Nakata Brophy Prize: Judges’ notes

All five poems on this year’s Nakata Brophy Prize shortlist – Jazz Money’s ‘as we attack’, Kirli Saunders’ ‘A dance of hands’, Laniyuk Garcon’s  ‘Remember’, Raelee Lancaster’s ‘haunted house’ and Susie Anderson’s ‘revolve’ – are testimony to the diverse work of emerging Indigenous poets, not only in the Nakata Brophy Prize submissions, but more broadly across the country.

Congratulations to the shortlist and the three following poets.

Runner-up ‘A Dance of Hands’, by Kirli Saunders, is a sensorial retrospective love poem best read out loud. The other runner-up, Susie Anderson’s ‘revolve’, is a subtly evolving prose poem about the moon and the speaker coming-to-terms with events.

This year’s first-placed poem, Raelee Lancaster’s ‘haunted house’, whose speaker reworks an old trope unflinchingly in the face of scepticism, was a clear winner. Its organically formed structure across three parts allows it to express multiple traumas experienced and inherited by Australian Indigenous peoples, individual and collective.

This prize is sponsored by Trinity College, University of Melbourne.





Jeanine Leane

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP), won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer. She has a PhD in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction and is the recipient of an Australia Research Council Grant on Aboriginal literature. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. Her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was released in 2018 by Cordite Press.

Toby Fitch

Toby Fitch is Overland’s poetry editor, a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Sydney, and the poet behind RawshockBloomin’ NotionsWhere Only the Sky had Hung Before and, most recently, Sydney Spleen. He is the editor of the poetry anthologies Best of Australian Poems 2021 (co-edited with Ellen van Neerven) and Groundswell: The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New & Emerging Poets 2007–2020.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays