Daisy Utemorrah Award for work of junior/YA fiction shortlist announced

Daisy Utemorrah Award shortlist

5 June 2019

In partnership with the State Government of Western Australia, Magabala Books is delighted to announce the shortlist for the Daisy Utemorrah Award for an unpublished work of junior and Young Adult fiction.

Launched as part of the 2018 WA Premier’s Book Awards, The Daisy Utemorrah Award is a national award that recognises excellence and seeks
to grow Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writing for younger readers.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award shortlist is:

  • Paul Callaghan, Coincidence
  • Kirli Saunders, Mother Speaks
  • Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler, Tracks of the Missing


The shortlisted manuscripts were selected from an impressive pool of entries which included both emerging writers and award-winning authors. Judges for the award were Ambelin Kwaymullina, award-winning writer of YA and illustrator-author of children’s picture books, and Rachel Bin Salleh, publisher at Magabala Books, who were impressed by the strength of entries to this inaugural award.

“The response to the Daisy Utemorrah Award represents the remarkable strength of contemporary First Nations storytelling and signals a bright future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing of junior and YA fiction. The stories we read were diverse in genre, scope and theme,” said Bin Salleh.

Of the shortlisted manuscripts the judges said:

Coincidence is a beautiful exploration of Aboriginal cultural values and the power of ancient knowledges in the present day. The Elder
characters in the novel are particularly well drawn, depicted with a warmth, depth and humour that leaps off the page and draws the reader in
their lives from the outset of the book.”

Mother Speaks is a lovely, lyrical exploration of the wisdom of the earth. The gentle rhythm of the verse speaks to the patterns and cycles of
the nature, and every line holds deep meaning that can be revisited many times over – this a story that will delight adults and children alike."

"Tracks of the Missing is a suspenseful crime thriller that draws the reader in from the first pages and never lets go. The tension steadily
escalates as events unfold and the text becomes richer with layers of meaning that build to a surprising climax that weaves together past,
present and future.”

The winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award will be announced at the Premier’s Book Awards on July 26, 2019 during the Disrupted Festival of
Ideas
at the State Library of Western Australia. The winner receives $15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books.

The award is named in honour of the late Daisy Utemorrah, who was an elder of the Wunambal people from the Mitchell Plateau area in the far north Kimberley, and one of the founders of Magabala Books. Utemorrah was an award-winning poet, author, community leader and passionate educator.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. The Award is also supported in partnership with Post Pre-Press.

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman announced the complete shortlist for the 2018 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards on
June 4.