Tania Crampton-Larking and Lisa Fuller have been awarded $10.000 fellowships from The State Library, with their stories taking top spots in the black&write! Fellowship program. These two recipients will also have their connection to country themed stories developed through publishing partner, Hachette Australia.

Lisa Fuller is a Wuilli Wuilli woman, and descendant from Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng peoples from South East Queensland. Her story Washpool grew out of correspondence with her eldest nieces, and a desire to help them maintain their connection to country and culture. Fuller writes with her home and community in mind. “I wanted to write something that the kids back home could relate to and feel proud of. As a kid, I hated that no one in books looked like me or my mob, and I wanted to give them that,” she says.

South Australian recipient Tania Crampton-Larking wrote a manuscript for a children’s novel. Brightest Wild was inspired by her sense of wonder in rediscovering the natural world after spending years in the city. “I write for everyone, including me, as I have so much fun with creating stories. I think a kids’ novel can often be enjoyed by people of all ages,” the author says.

The program brings the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Straight writers into the spotlight. Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch says, “The black&write Fellowships open the door to new voices in literature and allow the telling and sharing of First Nations stories.”

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald says the program has the potential to inspire. “The black&write! program exemplifies State Library’s vision of ‘Inspiring possibilities through knowledge, stories and creativity’. The stories published through this program have the potential to inspire generations of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share their own stories.”

Based on the strength of the applicants, the judging panel has also awarded four highly commended entries: Susie Anderson for her poetry collection Revolve, Boyd Quakawoot for the adult fiction work Valley of Cane and Crows, Loki Liddle for his poetry collection Snake of Light, and Kodie Bedford for the adult fiction work Sunny Daughter Girl.