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Deadlys Nominees 2011: Outstanding Achievement in Literature

Kim Scott – That Deadman Dance

The highly acclaimed 2011 winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, That Deadman Dance is inspired by the history of early contact between Kim Scott’s people, the Noongar in his hometown of Albany in Western Australia, and white colonialists. In writing the novel, Kim drew on the literary traditions of his people. It is a mixture of both historical fact and narrative, with strong credible characters formed through archival records. That Deadman Dance was also the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book in south-east Asia and the Pacific. Kim was the first Indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin Award for his second novel Benang.

Gayle Kennedy – Yarning Strong

Gayle has written and published five children’s books for the ‘Yarning Strong’ series published by Oxford University Press. Gayle Kennedy is a member of the Wongaiibon clan of South Western NSW and a well-known writer across many mediums, from poetry and novels through to screenplays for theatre. Yarning Strong is an Indigenous education series for young Australians and their teachers that explores what it’s like to be a young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in Australia today. The series is designed for upper primary (and lower secondary) students. All stories have been written by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers, and a committee of respected Indigenous educators guided the development and content of the series.

Brenton E McKenna – Ubby’s Underdogs: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon

This is the first graphic novel of a trilogy written and illustrated by Broome based, West Australian Aboriginal artist Brenton McKenna. Set in Broome during the 1940s, the book follows the adventures of Ubby, a smart, streetwise Aboriginal girl who is the leader of a small ragtag gang known as the ‘Underdogs’. McKenna has been drawing cartoons and writing stories since his primary school years. He studied visual arts for two years at Goulburn TAFE and in 2009 was one of 20 successful applicants to be awarded a highly sought after mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors. In most of his work, McKenna tries to infuse humour and action, as well as mystery and suspense.

Anita Heiss – Paris Dreaming

Wiradjuri author Dr Anita Heiss has a PhD in Aboriginal Literature and is a dedicated advocate for Indigenous literacy in Australia. Paris Dreaming is the fourth chick-lit book by Anita and follows her best selling books Manhattan Dreaming, Not Meeting Mr Right and Avoiding Mr Right. Anita is already the winner of three Deadly Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Literature. She is credited with creating a new literary genre of ‘Koori Chick Lit’. She was the first Aboriginal PhD graduate from the University of Western Sydney. She is patron of the South Sydney Youth Services and a board member of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy. Anita currently resides in Sydney.

Sally Morgan – Charlie Burr and the Three Stolen Dollars

Sally Morgan is a Palkyu woman from the Pilbara in the north west of Western Australia. She is recognised as one of Australia’s best known Aboriginal artists and writers, particularly for her award winning book My Place. Charlie Burr and the Three Stolen Dollars is written by Sally and her children Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel. Set in the Australian outback, the series follows its narrator, Charlie Burr, on his accidental adventures in the bush. The first adventure involves three stolen dollars, some missing gold, a two-humped camel and a naughty little dingo pup. Sally has written five books for children, as well as establishing an international reputation as an artist.

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