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Charity festival celebrating First Nations writers open for submissions

2 min read
First Nations

Entries are now open for the First Nations Writers Festival 2024, a registered Australian charity founded to showcase the culturally rich stories of Australia, the Greater Pacific, and beyond. 

The festival gives First Nations writers across several regions – including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and the Pacific Islands – the chance to have their books and short stories awarded cash prizes and possibly published. 

The First Nations Writers Festival (FNWF) was launched by Anna Borzi AM, who said it plays a critical role in unearthing magnificent stories from our region to share with the world. 

“It’s crucial these writers can tell their stories, their way, to preserve and celebrate their unique cultural heritage,” said Borzi. 

“I decided to set up the FNWF as a registered charity with deductive gift recipients (DGR) status so people who want to contribute to the culture of First Nations, can do so with confidence. We are gathering First Nations’ stories in written form and taking them to the world”. 

All Expressions of Interest for books must be lodged by 31 March, while short story submissions are due 30 March. Book award winners can receive a cash prize of up to $5000 Australian dollars and short story winners a cash prize of up to $500 Australian dollars. 

Each author submitting a work must be indigenous to the country they are from, and their entry must be a previously unpublished original work, written in English. Winning authors will be announced at the First Nations Writers Festival 2024, in Townsville, in May. 

Two book award winners from the 2023 First Nations Writers Festival will be in attendance to officially launch their now published titles, including Paul Puri Nii, author of “Birth of a Tribe”, and fellow Papua New Guinean John W. Kuri, author of “The Atrocity at Kerwanba”.  

FNWF Author Joshua Torenn said the launch of his thriller “The Bandits Among Us” in 2023 has been a life-changing event. 

“When I learned I was a winner of the First Nations Writers Festival Book Award, I was super excited. This is the first novel to be published from the Solomon Islands in 40 years — imagine that,” he said. 

The funds raised by the FNWF support more authors like Joshua to be able to tell their stories. 

“The donations go into the cash prizes, the cost of hosting the event, and funding travel as required. 

Our resources help unearth the First Nations authors of tomorrow,” Borzi added. 

Emceeing the festival is Peter Rockford Espiritu, a Hawaiian Disney consultant and artistic director of Tau Dance Theatre who said it was an honour to present the stories of Pacific Island peoples. 

The 2024 First Nations Writers Festival will be held at the Queensland Museum and Seaview Hotel in Townsville 24-25 May. 

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Third Sector provides high-level content and services for professional development and organisational growth to leaders and senior executives from Australia’s NFP sector and its supporting industries.


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