BILIRR (BLACK COCKATOO): EMERGING FIRST NATIONS AUSTRALIA WRITERS PROJECT

Australia’s First Nations (Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders) are proud Custodians of Culture, Language, Country and Sea. It is Aboriginal people who Sing the Country, keeping it well and strong; it is Aboriginal people who have survived white invasion to raise the flag of strength: black for the people, yellow for energy and life, blood-stained red for Country.

We seek submissions of poetry and prose by Australia’s First Nations people. If selected, we promise to sit with your work for as long as it takes to ready it for publication. We would love you to sing / write / shout in your voice (Language / Kreol / Aboriginal English / Standard Australian English) the story you want the world to stop and enjoy or be unsettled by. Even if your work is not accepted for publication, you’ll be offered feedback and support from our editors. 

For examples of work previously published on this project, see our Vault.
 
Submissions are accepted via Submittable during February and August. BUT YOU CAN ALSO SEND YOUR WORK ALL YEAR ROUND BY EMAILING EDITOR@VERITYLA.COM. 
 
You may submit a maximum of 3 poems and/or 1 long fiction, nonfiction or memoir piece.
 
Thanks to support from Australia Council for the Arts, we pay $100 per published submission.
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Project Editors/Mentors

Brenda Saunders is a descendant and Elder from the Stolen Generations. Her mob are Wiradjuri from the Capertee Valley near Bathurst NSW, but she now lives in Sydney. She has published three books and has won major prizes for her poetry. In her book Looking for Bullin Bullin she writes about family, dislocation and loss. Her next book addresses new threats and challenges to Country and culture since Colonization. For many years Brenda was an activist for Aboriginal Heritage and Native Title reform.

 

 

Yvette Henry Holt — national multi-award winning poet, academic and comedienne — heralds from the Yiman, Wakaman and Bidjara Nations’ of Queensland. Her poetry has been widely published and anthologised, both in print and online. In 2005 Yvette was awarded the Queensland Premier’s David Unaipon Award for her manuscript, anonymous premonition (UQP), a collection of poetry and stories seeded amongst memories and dreams celebrating childhood, social justice, feminism, motherhood, womanhood and love. anonymous premonition went on to win the Victorian Premier’s Literary for Indigenous Writing in 2008 and has since been translated into Chilean Mapuche, Chinese Mandarin and French.

Yvette now lives and works in the Australian Central Deserts, promoting financial literacy and community education across 500,000,000 square kilometers. She is currently completing a manuscript of poetry and prose — uncovering what lies beneath the desert skin.

Phillip Hall has worked for many years as a teacher of sport and camps throughout NSW, Far North Queensland & the Northern Territory. He designs sport and Outdoor/Environmental Education programs designed to teach emotional resiliency, cooperative group learning, safe decision-making and respect for Country. Phillip does not identify as a First Australian though he has been adopted into Gudanji family; where he is also known by the skin name of Jabala and the traditional or bush name of Gijindarraji (given to him because it was the bush name of his nana’s pop); he is a member of the Rrumburriya clan; and is a Jungkayi (custodian) for Jayipa (Catfish Hole). His Mother is the emu and goanna though his Nana jokes that his real Dreaming is the curlew or ‘Worry Bird’. Phillip has completed a Doctor of Creative Arts at Wollongong University where he researched Australian poetry, contemporary place theory, ecocriticism and postcolonialism. For many years Phillip has published his poetry, reviews and essays in such spaces as Antipodes, Best Australian Poetry, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Meniscus, Plumwood Mountain, Overland, Southerly, Verity La and Westerly. Phillip’s books include: Sweetened in Coals (Ginninderra), Borroloola Class (IPSI), Fume (UWAP), & (as editor) Diwurruwurru: Poetry From the Gulf of Carpentaria (Blank Rune Press). He currently lives in Melbourne’s Sunshine where he is a passionate member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

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Verity La acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the Traditional owners and Custodians of the lands on which we now work and live. We pay our respects to the Ancestors and Elders who were, and continue to be, the storytellers helping us to know our Country and her people of the past and present more clearly. We are reminded of the journey that began with the Aboriginal people in this land, but that now incorporates the larger family of Torres Strait Islanders and Australian people.