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2022
Submissions closed

About the Prize

The Indigenous Writers' Prize ($30,000) is offered biennially.  The Prize was first awarded in 2016.  The prize is intended to acknowledge the contribution made to Australian literary culture by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers.

The prize is open to those who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, and who are accepted as such by the communities in which they live. 

The Prize is designed to recognise literary merit and promote works in all categories including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, books for children and young adults, plays and scriptwriting. Entrants to the Indigenous Writers' Prize are also eligible to enter their work in any of the other award categories, and entry fees will apply for each category entered.

Co-authored entries will only be considered if both writers are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. 

All works entered must have been first published, performed, screened or broadcast between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2021.

The Judging Panel

Sandra Phillips

Sandra Phillips

Chair

Associate Professor Sandra Phillips is of the Indigenous Nations of southern and central Queensland, the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng. Professionally, Sandra is currently Associate Dean (Indigenous Engagement) at The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to her career as an academic Sandra trained editorially with Magabala Books and the University of Queensland Press, later managing Aboriginal Studies Press.

Sandra is published in peer-reviewed and diverse outlets, she is a sought-after public speaker, and is currently a Member of the Library Board of Queensland.

Cathy Craigie

Cathy Craigie

Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaraay and Anaiwon woman from Northern NSW. She grew up in a large extended family from Moree and across Northern NSW and has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over thirty years. She is passionate about Aboriginal capacity and community development utilising the arts and she tries to combine the two together in much of her work.

Cathy is currently a cultural advisor and works on projects primarily on First Nations arts and cultures. She has held positions in Government and community sectors at local, state, national and international levels. Cathy has a passion for storytelling and giving a voice to First Nations people and has used her work in the cultural industries to enhance this. She is a founding member of First Nations Australia Writers Network and the inaugural Executive Director. Her passion for Literature also extends to her writing. She has worked on plays, childrens’ stories, commissioned essays and culturally based stories.

Samuel Wagan Watson

Samuel Wagan Watson

Samuel Watson has poetry, and more recently short stories published in local and foreign literary journals, and even on the international space station. He lives and writes on the southside of Brisbane and comes from Wunjaburra and Germanic heritage.

Samuel’s work has received recognition from judges in literary accoladess such as the David Unaipon Award for Emerging Indigenous Literature in 1999. In 2004 his collection of poetry; Smoke Encrypted Whispers was judged the New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year as well as the Kenneth Slessor prize. The Patrick White Literary Award later followed in 2018.

He is proud to be a University of Queensland Press author.

Past winners

2020
Cover image of the book The White Girl.
University of Queensland Press
Winner
2018
Taboo Cover Image
Pan Macmillan Australia
Winner
2016
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Magabala Books
Joint winner
2016
Cover of Heat and Light
University of Queensland Press
Joint winner