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Creative Development Scholarships announced

Thu, Dec 07, 2023

Magabala Books is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2023 Creative Development Scholarships. Congratulations to Belle Martin, Elise Thornthwaite, Fern Martins, Kalem Murray, Lucas Schober, Jordan Adams, Noelene Cox, Sabrina Swift, Shannon Clohessy, Ta-Marrah O’Reeri and Darby Jones.

Magabala’s Creative Development Scholarships support emerging writers, illustrators and storytellers nurturing their creative development and cultivating a new wave of First Nations creators.

These eleven First Nations creators will be supported to complete creative development projects throughout 2024. Projects include online writing courses, manuscript development and editorial mentorships. 

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

Congratulations to our 2023 Scholarship recipients:

Belle Martin

Belle has been painting in acrylic medium for many years and has recently been working in watercolour, pencil and digital mediums. Belle entered the Kestin Illustrator Award in 2019 and was highly commended.

Belle will be supported to purchase illustration materials and equipment and enrol in online illustration courses.

Darby Jones

Darby is a queer, Kamilaroi man who was raised on Country in rural Queensland. He has recently pursued his passion for writing through a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Queensland. His essay, 'Fragile, Unfinished Somethings', was shortlisted for the 2022 Kill Your Darlings Creative Non-Fiction Essay Prize. Darby has been working as a black&write! Editor Intern at the State Library of Queensland where he is being trained in editing and manuscript development.

Darby will be supported to continue development of his writing with the support of a writing mentor.

Elise Thornthwaite

Elise is a proud Gamilaraay woman living on Maung Country in Arnhem Land. She is an emerging writer and storyteller who has recently started exploring her creative talents. Elise has recently participated in Regional Arts Australia’s Regional Scribes program. Her poetry piece titled ‘see you with the worms’ will be published in a small independent magazine, which is a significant accomplishment for Elise.

Elise will be supported with creative development funds to purchase writing equipment and enrol in online writing courses.

Fern Martins

Fern is an Ngarabul woman from New South Wales, known in her community in Awabakal Country as Aunty Fern. An accomplished artist, Fern works across many mediums and has illustrated a number of children's picture books, including five titles with Magabala Books. Fern is now putting energy into developing her writing skills and is working on her first manuscript as author.

Fern will be supported to engage an editorial mentor and undertake a manuscript assessment.

Kalem Murray

Kalem is a Bardi man from Broome who moved to Darwin 20 years ago to create a family. After decades of working in Aboriginal radio and television, he began to write. Kalem’s first short story ‘Curtain Call' was recognised in the National Indigenous Story Awards. His work features in the anthology 'This All Come Back Now' and New Australian Fiction 2023.

Kalem will be supported to continue developing his manuscript with support from a writing mentor.

Lucas Schober and Jordan Adams

Brother and sister, Lucas and Jordan are Wuthathi, Yadheigana, Kaurareg and Yindjibarndi First Nations people. Born and raised on Larrakia Country in Darwin, they were surrounded by the culture and learnings of their strong families, which has shaped them into the people and First Nations creatives they are today.

Lucas and Jordan will be supported to engage an editorial mentor to develop their current manuscript.

Noelene Cox

Noeleen is a proud and strong Aboriginal woman, with family and cultural connections to the traditional lands of the Wirangu, Gugaja and western desert region of the far west coast of South Australia and the western desert region of Western Australia. Her strong connections to family and Country have enabled her to continue cultural practices and obligations. She is also an educational leader, with an education career spanning over 30 years.

Noleen will receive creative development funds to purchase specialised writing equipment and enrol in an online course to develop her poetry writing.

Sabrina Swift

Sabrina is descended from the Bardi people from the north of Broome and the Giji people in the East Kimberley. She grew up in Darwin and now lives in Perth, Western Australia. With her sister Laura she published a children’s chapter book with Fremantle Press in 2014 called Lilli and Shadow in Trouble.

Sabrina will be supported to develop her current manuscript with an editorial assessment.

Shannon Clohessy

Shannon is an environmental scientist and a Wadandi custodian from saltwater country located in the southwest region of WA. Her family have a deep connection to the land and sea and their culture and traditions are intimately linked to the natural environment.

Shannon will receive creative development funds to purchase illustration materials and enrol in an online course to develop her current project.

Ta-Marrah O’Reeri

Ta-Marrah is a Nyul Nyul woman from her mother’s side and Ngarinjin woman from her father’s side. She works as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Beagle Bay Catholic School on the Dampier Peninsula and Purnululu Independent School in East Kimberley, Western Australia. A mother of two young girls she enjoys being out on Country, fishing, camping and going bush to get bush food. She is inspired by her Dad’s mother and Mum’s father who shared lots of stories & knowledge with her when she was growing up.

Ta-Marrah will be supported to engage Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler as writing mentors to build on their existing support.

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.