Indigenous Writers' Prize

Last updated:  28 February 2024
Applications closed

The Indigenous Writers' Prize ($30,000) acknowledges the contribution made to Australian literary culture by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers.


Applications closed

About the award

The Indigenous Writers' Prize ($30,000) was first awarded in 2016. The prize acknowledges 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. 


The Judging Panel

Mykaela Saunders

Panel Chair

Dr Mykaela Saunders is a Koori/Goori and Lebanese writer, teacher and researcher, and the editor of This All Come Back Now, the Aurealis Award-winning, world first anthology of blackfella speculative fiction (UQP). Mykaela won the David Unaipon Award for her short story collection Always Will Be (UQP). Her novel Last Rites of Spring was also shortlisted for the Unaipon Award and received a Next Chapter Fellowship. Mykaela has won other prizes for short fiction, poetry, life writing and research, including the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize and the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize. She holds the 2023 Macquarie University Fellowship for Indigenous Research. Of Dharug descent, Mykaela belongs to the Tweed Goori community.

photo of Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ambelin Kwaymullina is a First Nations writer and illustrator who comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She tells stories across a range of forms including poetry, short stories, essays, speculative fiction novels and picture books. She is a previous winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Aurealis Award.


Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson is a Gamilaroi poet, folklorist and musician living on Gadigal lands. His poetry has appeared in Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Rabbit, Running Dog and The Suburban Review. He has been featured in the anthologies Active Aesthetics, Firefront: First Nation’s poetry and power today, Best of Australian Poems 2021, Nangamay Mana Djurali: First Nations Australian LGBTQI+ Poetry. Luke was also a 2021 Next Chapter Fellow. His research and creative pursuits are grounded in extensive work with First Nations and other community-based organisations across Australia.

Past winners


cover image of we come with this place
We Come With This Place
Echo Publishing


Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray: River of Dreams
Simon and Schuster Australia


Cover image of the book The White Girl.
The White Girl
University of Queensland Press


Taboo Cover Image
Pan Macmillan Australia


Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
    Joint winner
Dark Emu
Magabala Books


Cover of Heat and Light
    Joint winner
Heat and Light
University of Queensland Press

Award Information


For more information, please contact the Awards team.

Phone: (02) 9273 1767, or alternatively (02) 9273 1770.