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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

National writers celebrate Aboriginal Literature on the Far South Coast

A two-day forum celebrating Aboriginal writers and stories will be held at Jigamy (Eden, NSW) on 1–2 July 2017. The Giiyong Writers’ Forum will explore and showcase the diverse nature of Indigenous writing within Australia and encourage local writers to tell their stories, as well as building a new audience for future events at Jigamy, particularly the Giiyong Festival happening in September 2018.

The Giiyong Writers’ Forum will take place in the Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu Keeping Place. The event is open to anyone interested in exploring Aboriginal stories, issues and identity and a unique opportunity for people interested in developing their own writing skills. On Saturday 1 July, some of Australia’s leading Aboriginal authors will give presentations and readings from their work and take part in panel discussions. The Sunday program offers a range of two-hour workshop covering fiction writing, poetry, writing for screen, playwriting and how to get published. South East Arts' General Manger, Andrew Gray says, "Ten authors from across the country will present during the forum, including Ali Cobby Eckermann who recently won the prestigious international Wyndham-Campbell Prize for poetry." Ali Cobby Eckermann is a Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha kunga woman, born on Kaurna land in South Australia. Her work has garnered her many invitations to national and international literary festivals, including the prestigious Ubud Writers and Readers Festival held each year in Indonesia. Dr Jared Thomas will also be present and is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and a writer of theatre and fiction. Jared’s play Flash Red Ford toured Uganda and Kenya in 1999 and his play Love, Land and Money featured during the 2002 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Jared is an ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. "We are really excited to announce that Elizabeth Wymarra will also be in attendance," said Mr Gray. "Many people know her from her work on the ABC series Black Comedy. She is a performance artist, comedian and playwright. Her father was a Gudang man and her mother, a Wakaidt woman from Badu Island in the Western region of the Torres Straits." Local indigenous authors will also be represented including Warren Foster, a Djiringanj man from Wallaga Lake who is a dancer, musician, actor, writer and traditional knowledge holder. He has worked as a cultural teacher and tour guide in South East NSW for many years and has written fifteen traditional dreamtime stories about Yuin country. Eden elder Liddy Stewart and local archivist Sue Norman will take part, having produced two books about local Aboriginal life on the Far South Coast, Mutton Fish (with Beryl Cruse) and Bittangabee Tribe. They will also talk about the Eden language group and language revival in the local area. The event runs 9am to 6pm on Saturday 1 July 2017. The first day is fully catered. Attendees on Sunday 2 July for workshops will need to BYO lunch and snacks. For people who need to bring children, there will be activities at Twofold Aboriginal Corporation building on the Saturday only. The Giiyong Writers Forum is one of three lead-up events to the Giiyong Festival in September 2018, which will be the first all-encompassing Aboriginal cultural festival for South East NSW. The festival is being produced by South East Arts, in collaboration with Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, and is made possible through funding from Create NSW. The Giiyong Writers' Forum is generously supported by the Mumbulla Foundation and Create NSW through the Regional Partnership funding program. Ticketing has been released and the program is being finalised. More information, including the full list of presenters and updates go to or telephone South East Arts 02 64920711.

Above: Dr Jeanine Leane will be the keynote speaker at the Giiyong Writers' Forum in July. She is a Wiradjuri writer, teacher and academic. She holds a doctorate in Australian literature and Aboriginal representation and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University.

Above: Warren Foster is a Djiringanj man from Wallaga Lake. He is a dancer, musician, actor, writer and traditional knowledge holder. Warren will present local dreamtime stories at the Giiyong Writers' Forum and discuss South Coast culture.

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