We are thrilled to announce that Melaleuca by Angie Martin has won the inaugural Commercial Fiction Fellowship for First Nation Writers.
Angie Martin of the Kooma nation also has Kamilaroi, Welsh, German and English ancestry. She was thrilled to receive the fellowship. ‘I am very happy to be supported in pursuing my three great passions in life: reading, writing and sharing my Aboriginal culture. I am grateful to both my grandmothers for instilling in me an appreciation for storytelling.’
Melaleuca will appeal to readers of character-driven crime fiction. After the death of his mother, Josh Cunningham questions what he knows of his father – and himself. Josh returns to the rural town he grew up in to unravel a family secret, with the help of police officer Renee Burns. Together, they investigate unsolved disappearances of young Aboriginal women.
The fellowship offers a First Nations writer a twelve-month mentorship with Jo Mackay, Publisher at Harlequin; associate status at Flinders University; a writing residency at Writers SA; and a stipend of $3500. At Flinders the Fellow will enjoy full access to libraries and resources and the support of Dr Amy Matthews, Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing.
The judging panel consisted of Indigenous author Karen Wyld, Jo Mackay of Harlequin and Dr Amy Matthews of Flinders University. There were three shortlisted manuscripts Desert Lands by Julie Janson, Barks and the City by Melanie Saward and Melaleuca by Angie Martin. The winning manuscript was universally praised by the judging panel.
Author Karen Wyld expressed delight at the opportunity given to new writers and added, ‘I wish the inaugural recipient, Angie Martin, all the best during her Fellowship and look forward to watching shortlistees Julie Janson and Melanie Saward continue to build their writing careers.’ Jo Mackay commented, ‘Melaleuca is a manuscript full of dark mystery and a unique sense of place that at the same time could be nowhere but Australia. It slowly builds up the suspense until the tension becomes hard to tolerate.’
‘Angie Martin adds a unique voice to a genre which is a favourite with Australian readers,’ Dr Amy Matthews added.
The fellowship will run from August 2019 to August 2020.