New Indigenous literary award honours late Kimberley Elder Daisy Utemorrah

January 11, 2019

Magabala Books is delighted to partner with the State Government of Western Australia and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund to announce The Daisy Utemorrah Award, a national award open to Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is a new unpublished manuscript award for a work of junior and YA fiction, including graphic novels, by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer. Generously supported by the State Government of Western Australia and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winner will receive a cash prize of $15,000 and their manuscript will be published with Magabala Books, under the guidance of an Indigenous editor.

Magabala Books’ Publisher, Rachel Bin Salleh said “We believe there could be much better representation of Indigenous authors in junior and YA fiction. We’re hoping the award will help contribute to the growth of Indigenous and diverse voices for younger readers.”

Launched as part of the WA Premier’s Book Awards, the Daisy Utemorrah Award is a significant addition to the national literary award circuit. “The inclusion of the Daisy Utemorrah Award in the Premier’s Book Awards reflects the State Government’s commitment to Indigenous writers, here in WA and nationally,” said Bin Salleh.

The award is named in honour of author and poet Daisy Utemorrah, who was an elder of the Wunambal people from the Mitchell Plateau area in the far north Kimberley and one of the founders of Magabala Books. Utemorrah wrote the poetry collection Do Not Go Around the Edges (illus by Pat Torres, Magabala) in 1991, which was shortlisted for the 1991 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year for Young Readers and won the 1992 Australian Multicultural Children’s Book Award. “Daisy Utemorrah was passionate about young people and education and that’s why we named this award in her honour,” said Bin Salleh.

Application details for the Daisy Utemorrah Award can be found on the Magabala Books website. Applications close on 30 April 2019.

Over a 30+ year period, Magabala Books has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, authors and illustrators to publish more than 270 titles, and built an impressive resume of award-winning works, including Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu. The Daisy Utemorrah Award expands Magabala’s unparalleled program of professional development opportunities for Indigenous writers and illustrators.

Read more about the Award and about Daisy’s passion for young people and education as reported in the Koori Mail on 16 January 2019 here.

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