Judge’s notes | PEN Mildura Indigenous Writers Award

The past is always with us and carried over into the future, and this was evident in all submissions to the Mildura Indigenous Writers Award. The writing was diverse, engaging and overall very moving. History as ‘past-present-future’ was a strong theme.

The task of judging the award was both an honour and a challenge given the diverse entries, which were all excellent. Each piece told a great story with poignant insight to the writers’ lives and histories through humour, warmth, and a deep love of family and place.

Maya Hodge’s poem ‘Her Eyes’, the 2017 co-winner, portrays moving and direct insights to unique stories of resilience and cultural/family pride against history’s odds.

Congratulations to Mildura’s community of Aboriginal writers and storytellers! May you continue to support each other create great work, and to share your important stories from your beautiful part of the world.


Supported by PEN Melbourne, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the Mildura Writers Festival


Image: Pier (Mildura) / flickr





Natalie Harkin

Natalie Harkin is a Narungga woman, a member of the Chester family in South Australia. She is a lecturer and academic advisor at the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement, Flinders University, and her PhD research is an archival-poetic journey through the state’s Aboriginal family archives. Her first collection of poetry, Dirty Words, was published by Cordite Books in 2015.

More by Natalie Harkin ›

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