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Creative Development Scholarships announced

Thu, Dec 08, 2022

Magabala Books is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2022 Creative Development Scholarships. Congratulations to Ari Mills, Brooke Robinson, Charmaine Ledden-Lewis, Eddie Kitching, Janice Slater, Jayne Christian, Joanna Agius, Lay Maloney, Lulu Houdini, Merinda Dutton, Samantha Campbell, Tahnaya Hunt and Tahnee Carter.  

These thirteen First Nations creators will be supported to complete creative development projects throughout 2023. Projects include online writing courses, manuscript development, editorial mentorships and website design. 

Scholars are selected through a competitive application process and expressions of interest come from all over Australia. 

Congratulations to our 2022 Scholarship recipients:

Ari Mills

Ari's writing practice is empowered by their community and our expressions of love. Ari writes so that more expressions of our love can be incorporated into the Indigenous canon, for the ones that have come before and that will come after us. Ari writes for young Black Queer folk that are looking for themselves in all art spaces and mediums, they want to create spaces for all Mob to be celebrated and cherished.

Ari will be supported by participating in online writing courses or purchase of materials.  

Brooke Robinson

Brooke is a Tasmanian Aboriginal saltwater woman currently living on turrakana country (Tasman Peninsula) in the south east of her island home. She acknowledges her Ancestors and Elders and is very grateful to all those who directly taught her to grow stronger in Culture and those countless First Nations people who inspire her. Brooke prefers to live simply and spend time on Country with her son, partner and people she is close to. Normally Brooke works in education for Parks and Wildlife Services in national parks, and now also currently the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Nipaluna/Hobart delivering cultural programs. 

Brooke loves oral storytelling- as an educator and has had many opportunities to follow this but has also begun to write. Thank you Magabala Books!

Brooke will be supported by undertake online writing courses to further develop her writing skills. 

Charmaine Ledden- Lewis 

Charmaine is a proud Bundjalung woman living on Dharug & Gundungurra Country in the Blue Mountains, NSW. She is the recipient of the 2019 Kestin Indigenous Illustrators Award. Through this life changing opportunity, Charmiane has been fortunate to work with such inspirational and creative people, on projects with such heart and truth. 

Charmaine will receive creative development funds to undertake online writing courses and engage a writing mentor. 

Eddie Kitching

Local Darwin born and raised Mudburra Gurindji/Larrakia man Eddie comes from a large family of 8 sisters and 2 brothers. Learning off his grandmothers and Larrakia Grandfathers country has been a lifelong journey for Eddie, one that has been integral to his creative practice. Eddie uses a particular layering technique that brings a strong and bold finish to his artwork. Eddie’s work has evolved over 40 years of painting and derives from travels through his Great Grandmother, Grandmother and mother’s country, and stories told by family members on the significance of the country.

Eddie will be supported to continue work on a memoir of his grandmothers story with an editorial mentor.  

Janice Slater

Janice is a Badimia Yamatji (maternal) and Ballardong + Whadjuk Noongar (paternal), born in 1950 and raised at Coodingnow Station. She was educated first by her grandmother Ethel on Coodingnow, and then at school until Year 9. Janice found her way back to education after the birth of her youngest child. She has completed a BA in Writing and Indigenous Studies (with first class Honours) at Southern Cross University in Lismore. Janice is the mother of four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She is on the Elders Committee for Badimia Bani Barna Aboriginal Corperatiion (BBBAC).

Janice will be supported to engage an editorial mentor and manuscript assessment. 

Jayne Christian 

Jayne is a Burrabirang Darug diyin (Darug woman of Burramatta/Parramatta). Jayne is a social justice lawyer. She was raised on Wiradjuri Country in Wagga Wagga and taught weaving by that Community, her weaving has been collected by the Australia Museum and currently a finalist in the Blacktown City Art Prize. Jayne likes to host weaving circles on-Country to lead yarns on decolonisation and enjoys writing for this purpose too.

Jayne will undertake an online writing course with Gotham Writers Workshop and receive a mentorship to further develop her writing. 

Joanna Agius

Joanna is an emerging writer and profoundly Deaf and proud Narungga woman living in Kaurna country in South Australia. She is a strong advocate for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Aboriginal people in Australia, and founder of Deaf Aboriginal Services (DAS). Joanna works as an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) lecturer at TAFE SA.

Joanna will be supported through an editorial mentorship and Auslan interpreted mentoring sessions. 

Lay Maloney

Lay is a storyteller of the Gumbaynggirr and the Gunggandji nations and South Sea Islander heritage. They work as the project officer at the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition. Lay is a recipient for the State Library of Queensland’s 2022 black&write! Fellowship for their YA manuscript Weaving Us Together. 

Lay will be supported with creative development funds to purchase writing equipment and materials. 

Lulu Houdini 

Lulu is a proud Gamilaroi/Gomeroi woman, writer, nurse, birth worker and artsworker. Lulu creates and explores connections with poetry of land, sea, sky, story, and to date she is an unpublished writer. Lulu writes poetry, personal essay and memoir, around the thems of texture, Country, identity, traditional language, kweer nature, sensuality, love and finding our way back home to the guniimara, the mother's hands.

Lulu will be supported to engage an editorial mentor and manuscript assessment.    

Merinda Dutton 

Merinda is a Barkandji and Gumbaynggirr woman, lawyer and am co-founder of the Instagram handle @blackfulla_bookclub. She has variously written non-fiction pieces and been published by Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and the Guardian. In her capacity as co-founder of Blackfulla Bookclub, Merinda has also participated in writers’ festivals through facilitating and moderating conversations with Aboriginal writers both in person and online.

Merinda will undertake an online writing course with Gotham Writers Workshop to participate in professional writing development.   

Samantha Campbell

Samantha is from Darwin but currently living in Alice Springs, she is descended from the Dagoman people from Katherine. Samantha has illustrated 8 books since 2016 when Magabala first offered her the opportunity to illustrate Alfreds War. Samantha works digitally and traditionally with different mediums in various styles.

Samantha will be supported by receiving creative development funds to further develop her professional illustrators website. 

Tahnaya Hunt 

Tahnaya is a Barkindji woman who comes from a line of talented musicians and entertainers. This is her first attempt at writing, but it is certainly a dream come true for Tahnaya’s dad. Tahnaya has been collecting information about her dad’s life and believes the time is right to have his story typed up and published. Tahnaya reached out to Magabala as they previously published a book that her Great Uncle Harold Hunt had written, Memoirs of the Corner Country, story of May Hunt.

Tahnaya will be supported to enrol in an online writing course to further develop her writing skills.  

Tahnee Carter

Tahnee Carter is a 24-year-old Broome local who, after many years, has finally found her creative form writing. Although she is still quite young, her creative journey has been lifelong. Tahnee has explored many artistic forms including; comic books, boab nut carving, woodwork, painting, drawing, photography, filmmaking, animation, and writing. One of her short stories, where she reflected on her experiences as an Indigenous medical student, was selected out of thousands to be included in the 2022 SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition anthology, Between Two Worlds.

Tahnee will be supported to engage an editorial mentor to develop her current manuscript. 


Magabala Creative Development Scholarships are made possible thanks to the generous support of our philanthropic program. For more information or to donate, see Support Us.