Media Releases

Children’s stories inspiration for 2020 Fellowship winners

May 19, 2020

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch today announced the two new manuscripts for children named as the winning entries for the State Library of Queensland’s 2020 black&write! Fellowships.  

“Each year, the Fellowships reward aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers with $10,000 in prize money along with the opportunity to develop and publish their manuscripts,” Minister Enoch said.

“In a year of record entries, it is my great pleasure to name Blackwater resident Eunice Day for her children’s story Rabbits by the Fenceline, and West Australian writer Carl Merrison for his early reader series Backyard Sports as this year’s Fellowship recipients.”  

Minister Enoch said Eunice Day’s manuscript, Rabbits by the Fenceline, was an illustrated story of reconciliation. 

“Eunice Day is a proud Aboriginal woman descended from the Yimen Eaglehawk people and Lama Lama people. Her tale is inspired by stories passed down to her from family and follows a group of rabbits who overcome small differences to come together,” Ms Enoch said. 

“Carl Merrison’s manuscript is an early reader series titled Backyard Sports. His stories show the diversity of First Nations childhoods in the Kimberley and follow the adventures that spark when a ball goes over the fence. 

“Carl is a respected Kija man from the Halls Creek area and his first co-authored book, Black Cockatoo, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. 

“These Fellowships introduce exciting new voices in literature and make an important contribution in expanding contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing.   

“Now, more than ever, in this time of global change and disruption we need our stories to be told.”

Carl Merrison said, "winning this Fellowship means a lot. I'm gobsmacked. The recognition and the chance to have my story published is incredible. The story will be around longer than me, I hope."

Four highly commended writers were also named:

  • Charles Passi from Queensland for Eyes of the Sea
  • Edoardo Crismani from South Australia for Finding Billy Brown
  • Nicole Jones from Queensland for I Am As You Are
  • Darren Green from New South Wales for Baloo Murri

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said the State Library program, launched in 2010, was more important than ever. 

“We’re proud of the national reach and outcomes from the black&write! program – especially in 2020, when so many creative outlets have been cancelled.” 

“The program is the first of its kind in Australia and it plays an important role in bringing the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait writers into the spotlight,” she said. 

“I look forward to seeing Eunice and Carl develop their work under the direction of black&write! program editor Grace Lucas-Pennington. 

“This program exemplifies State Library’s vision to inspire possibilities through knowledge, stories and creativity. 

“The stories published through this program have the potential to inspire generations of Australians to listen to the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”