Acknowledging excellence in writing, the shortlists for the 2019 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards have been announced by WA Minister for Culture and the Arts, David Templeman.

This awards’ shortlists are filled with First Nations talent, particularly the Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction.

In its second year, the Daisy Utemorrah Award sees the recipient take home $15,000 and a publishing contract with Broome-based Indigenous publisher, Magabala Books.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is administered by Magabala Books with the support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

This year’s Daisy Utemorrah Award shortlist includes:

Our Matriarchs by Teela May Reid

Reid is an activist, lawyer and staunch Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman from Gilgandra, NSW. She is an avid supporter of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and is co-founder of Instagram page @blackfulla_bookclub, which shines light in Indigenous authors and their works.


18 Comments by Ellen van Neerven

Van Neerven is a Mununjali writer and poet from south-east Queensland. Van Neerven won the 2013 David Unaipon Award for her manuscript Heat and Light.


Yenda by Jannali Jones

Jones is a Krowathunkoolong woman of the Gunai nation. Her debut novel, My Father’s Shadow, won the black&write! Indigenous writing fellowship.

Jones has a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney.


Noble Intentions by Krista Dunstan

A practicing solicitor and Noongar woman, Krista Dunstan was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2013, she was listed in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence Young Leader list. Dunstan also received the Lawyer of the Year Award in 2017 and 2018.


Swell by Elizabeth Stuart

A teacher, artist, singer-songwriter and aspiring author and illustrator, Elizabeth “Bessie” Stuart is an unpublished author who writes across many genres.

Stuart is of Bundjalung and Aotearoa (New Zealand) descent and writes to share her many stories of the world and inspire respect and care for the land, oceans and peoples.

The Daisy Utemorrah Award shortlist. Photo via Magabala Books Facebook.

An Indigenous author nominated in another category, Helen Milroy’s Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories published by Fremantle Press was shortlisted in the Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer. The Emerging Writer award sees the winning author take home $15,000.

Jaru and Kija man from Halls Creek and 2016 Australian of the Year nominee, Carl Merrison, is nominated for the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship. The Fellowship provides a WA writer with $60,000 and is designed to foster the skills of the recipient for a year.

Minister Templeman said the Awards remind Western Australians what a “fertile ground Western Australia is for writers, both emerging and experienced”.

“This year we had an outstanding number of entries, which is evidence that writing and equally people’s loves for reading continues to flourish,” the Minister said.

Award winners will be announced in early August at the State Library of Western Australia. The event will see a new inductee welcomed into the WA Writers Hall of Fame.

By Rachael Knowles