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2019 Creative Development Scholarships

Tue, Nov 26, 2019

Magabala Books is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2019 Creative Development Scholarships. Congratulations to Robyn Jean, Neville Poelina, Rowena Morgan, Dub Leffler and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr.

Scholars are selected through a competitive application process and expressions of interest come from all over Australia. Scholarship activity will be undertaken in 2020.

Congratulations to the 2019 scholars – we look forward to seeing the development of their projects.

Robyn Jean, Neville Poelina and Rowena MorganAbove: Robyn Jean (WA), Neville Poelina (WA) and Rowena Morgan (WA)


Dub Leffler and Johnny Warrkatja MalibirrAbove: Dub Leffler (QLD) and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr (NT)

Robyn Jean (WA)

I am a Noongar/Yamatjt Yorga (woman) from the South West of Western Australia, living in Perth. I have had many roles in education and caring for people. I completed my Associate Degree in Contemporary Aboriginal Art and have always written stories and poems, many of them incorporated into my art.  I have a book that I wrote with my daughter Sarah, ‘Tell me why’.

Robyn will undertake a writing mentorship to work on her poetry collection, themed around poetic responses to mental illness.


Neville Poelina (WA)

Neville Poelina is a Nyikina man from the Kimberley. He has lived in the Kimberley all his life and holds a wealth of knowledge of the region. He has traditional ties right throughout the Kimberley and Aboriginal culture and society is his life. He has been operating his ​own business Uptuyu Adventures since 2002.

Neville will undertake a mentorship to develop his biography/ life story into a manuscript through transcription and editorial support.


Rowena Morgan (WA)

Rowena is a Kija & Gooniyandi woman, who was born in Wyndham and grew up in Halls Creek. Rowena is a contemporary Aboriginal artist who has developed her own style from a young age and continues to transform her designs into textile prints. She has been a part of several art centres, has worked with WA Art Gallery through various training programs and continues to grow her own art business Nangarri Designs.

Rowena will undertake a mentorship to learn the art of book illustration and work towards producing a children’s picture book.


Dub Leffler (QLD)

Dub Leffler has written two books for children and illustrated for over 20 publications, collaborating with the likes of Shaun Tan, Sally Morgan and Banksy.  He is descended from the Bigambul and Mandandanji people of south west Queensland.

Dub will undertake a writing mentorship to further develop his writing for children and the sequel to Once there was a boy.


Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr (NT)

My name is Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr. I have illustrated one book called ‘Little Birds Day’ with Sally Morgan, published by Magabala Books. I am also exhibiting and selling art through the Art Centre. I hope to expand my skills in the book creating process so I can share my stories and encourage other people to tell their stories.

Johnny will undertake a mentorship to produce illustrations for a forthcoming children’s picture book and work towards the development of his homeland story.

Magabala Creative Development Scholarships are generously supported through our philanthropic program. For more info or to donate, visit our Support Us page.