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Daisy Utemorrah Award Shortlist Announced

Thu, Jun 17, 2021


In partnership with the WA Premier’s Book Awards, we’re delighted to announce the Daisy Utemorrah Award shortlist.

Congratulations to Natasha, Carl and Hakea!

‘Home is Calling’ is an evocative work of junior fiction, celebrating the cultural and ancestral connections carried within. Introducing young readers to Gathang language words from the Worimi Nation, this gentle story will delight and inspire.

Natasha Leslie is a proud Gumminpingal woman from the Worimi nation, Karuah, NSW. She grew up in Western Australia and currently lives in the Pilbara. A graduate of the Indigenous Marathon Project in 2017, Natasha credits this program for helping her through a rough time and guiding her into the woman she is today. Now a passionate runner, Natasha works as an Aboriginal Islander Education Officer at a local Primary School, and loves seeing young people grow and thrive. Out of everything in her life, her biggest achievement is her four beautiful daughters. If she can inspire them and other children to know that their potential is limitless, then she will be very happy. Her entry to the Daisy Utemorrah Award is her first piece of writing.

‘Dirran’ is a powerful work of junior fiction that continues the story of Mia, the protagonist of Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler’s award-winning novella ‘Black Cockatoo’, as she learns to live at her new boarding school in the big city. A poignant story that beautifully conveys the struggles, connections and new experiences of a First Nations student away from home, ‘Dirran’ is a coming of age novella with wide appeal.

Carl Merrison is a respected Jaru/Kija man from Halls Creek in the Kimberley. He has worked for over ten years alongside Aboriginal youth as a mentor and coach - in education, AFL and community. Hakea Hustler is an experienced teacher who believes in the power of stories for empowerment, learning and change. Together, Carl and Hakea are inspired to write about their shared experiences of the Kimberley and their passion for mentoring. Carl and Hakea’s first book Black Cockatoo was an Honour Book in the 2019 CBCA Children’s Book of the Year, a finalist in the Readings Children’s Prize and shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and the ABIA Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year. Carl was a shortlisted author for the Western Australian Writing Fellowship at the 2019 WA Premier’s Book Awards.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award for unpublished junior and Young Adult writing seeks to grow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing for younger readers. Launched as part of the WA Premier’s Book Awards, this national award is open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers of junior and YA fiction. 

See the complete WA Premier's Award's shortlist here.

The winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award will receive $15,000 prize money and a publishing contract with Magabala Books. Generously supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and the WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.