By Suraya Daly.
Rugby League star Scott Prince joins a comedian, an academic and a deputy principal as the 2013 black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellows for the State Library of Queensland.
Arts Minister Ian Walker announced the winners today, which includes the new kuril dhagun prize worth $10,000.
“This award is great for writers to show their talents to the world and to make sure that our Indigenous writers are well represented in literary endeavours both in Queensland and indeed overseas,” he says.
The two fellowship prizes and the kuril dhagun prize are each worth $10, 000 and include a publishing deal with Indigenous publishing house Magabala Books.
Mr Walker will launch the books written by the two winning fellowship writers.
“We had such a great array of award nominations that we were able to make a special award this time and it’s called the kuril dhagun prize and it has gone to Dave Hartley and Scott Prince,” he said.
“They have written a book which will be a great attraction to kids in Queensland and beyond.”
Mr Walker says Prince is already well known as a great Indigenous role model in sport.
“To see him turn his hands to literary work is tremendous as well,” Mr Walker says.
Hartley says his book is about a boy in Mount Isa.
“The book centres on a young Indigenous boy called Dylan who moves to Mount Isa and befriends little Mary,” he said.
“We’ve got some nice cultural themes included.”
Meanwhile, Prince hopes his book will encourage children to read.
“As a kid growing up I didn’t read a hell of a lot, certainly with that rugby league theme it would encourage children to read more,” he says.
He has plans to write more books after this experience, once his career on the footy field is over.
Mr Walker says the fellowships are helpful to encourage children to follow the footsteps of good role models like Hartley and Prince.
The fellows include Townsville comedian Tristan Savage with his science fiction adventure Rift Breaker, and South Australian lecturer Jared Thomas for his young adult novel Calypso Summer.
The prizes were awarded following a national competition for published or emerging Indigenous authors of fiction.
black&write! is supported by the State Library in partnership with Magabala Books.
Entries for the 2014 competition open in October.