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Celebrating the Daisy Utemorrah Award winner...

Fri, Jul 01, 2022

On Friday 17 June, Magabala was proud to co-present the Daisy Utemorrah Award with the Hon Samantha Rowe MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Culture and the Arts, at the WA Premier's Book Awards. We congratulate Mariah Sweetman, winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award for her unpublished manuscript 'Robert Runs'.

Mariah Sweetman is a Ugarapul woman living and creating on Gubbi Gubbi land with her husband and dog. She loves to create with words and paint in response to connection to culture. Professionally, Mariah is an English teacher in Gubbi Gubbi Country and is passionate about young people engaging with true Indigenous histories and stories.

In an emotional acceptance speech. Mariah Sweetman said:

"A huge thank you to Magabala Books. Most importantly I thank my Ugarapul family back home. Thank you so much for your stories, and I just pray that I honour you with this story I've told."

Magabala Chairperson, Tony Lee in presenting the Award said:

"When our Kimberley Elders met at Ngumpan in 1984 to talk about how to protect Lore and Culture, they decided we needed our own publishing house.  Too many gardiyas and wadijellas were writing down stories and taking them away.  Things weren't being done the right way, and our Elders wanted to take back control of their stories.  It is because of their vision and work that Magabala Books exists and that we continue to publish great stories for all some 35 years on.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award honours the legacy of one of our founding Elders, the late Daisy Utemorrah, a Wunambal award winning poet, storyteller and passionate educator.  She knew the power of writing down and sharing our stories.  This Awarf for an unpublished work of junior and young adult fiction, continues her legacy to ensure that our young people have stories that celebrate who they are and who they can be.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award would not be possible without the generous support of the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund, the Western Australian Government and the State Library.  We thank you deeply and genuinely for this support - awards like these spark careers and change lives."

Mariah Sweetman will receive $15,000 prize money and a publishing contract with Magabala Books. The next Daisy Utemorrah Award will open in early-2023.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is generously supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and the WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. 

State Library of Western Australia CEO, Catherine Clark, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Culture and the Arts, the Hon Samantha Rowe MLC, Mariah Sweetman and Magabala Chairperson Tony Lee.