Desert writings win coveted grant for UWA publishing
Ali Cobby Eckerman. Image: Juno Gemes
by Maryvonne Bestel
WA Publishing, with the Northern Territory Writers’ Centre and the South Australia Writers’ Centre, has been announced as the recipient of the Australia Council’s Special Publishing Grant for their collaborative Desert Writing project, worth nearly $50,000. The one-off annual grant is awarded to larger, innovative publishing projects that contribute to the development of Australian culture. The Desert Writing project meets such criteria, with celebrated writers Marie Munkara, Ali Cobby Eckermann (pictured) and Kim Mahood commissioned to draw out rich voices from the desert.
In September, the writers will drive to Central Australia, the Barkly Region and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, Coober Pedy and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunythathara lands in South Australia and Lake Gregory (Paraku) between the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert in Western Australia, where they will hold writing workshops for participants. The collaboration was developed to celebrate desert regions and their people as a whole, maintaining a natural geographical region rather than an area divided by State and Territory boundaries. “There is an amazing and undefinable energy in that country and it’s there in those people too … the letters that these people write
in these workshops will astound,” mentor Marie Munkara said. “This grant is wonderful news for us and we are very fortunate to be collaborating with the NT and SA Writers Centres on this exciting project. Our chosen mentors are perfectly placed to uncover richly nuanced voices in these remote regions. The project wouldn’t be possible without generous Australia Council funding and we are extremely grateful,” UWA Publishing Director Terri-ann White said. Selected writings from the workshops will be published by UWA Publishing as an anthology of Desert Writing in 2014. For further enquires, please contact Terri-ann White, phone (08) 6488 1343 or 0405 390 805. Page 1