Warami & jingi wallah!

My name is Mykaela Saunders and I’m a writer, teacher, and community researcher, with occasional forays into other types of arts. I’m Koori and Lebanese, Goori by acculturation, and working-class and queer. I write for and about the communities I belong to.

I began writing fiction and poetry in 2017, when I enrolled in a Doctor of Arts degree in the University of Sydney’s creative writing program. I’ve won prizes for fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and research, and my work has been published across forms and disciplines, and attracted funding and fellowships.

I’m currently working on two short story collections. Goori-futurism is my speculative fiction showcase of sovereign Bundjalung futures, and makes up the creative component of my doctoral project. I’m also drafting satirical and absurdist stories for With Teeth, exploring contemporary Aboriginal experiences in the arts, activism, and academia. This collection is supported by Creative Victoria.

I was born on my Dharug ancestors’ lands in Western Sydney, and grew up between there and in Tweed Heads, in Bundjalung country, community, and culture. I belong to the Tweed Aboriginal community through family and other relationships.

I’ve worked in Aboriginal education in various capacities since 2003, and taught at the tertiary level since 2012. My research explores trans-generational trauma and healing in my community.

I live and work with gratitude between the lands of the Bundjalung nation (northern rivers of NSW), the Dharug-Eora nation (greater Sydney area), and the Kulin nation (Melbourne).



2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, ‘River Story’ (read)

2020 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize, ‘Choice Cuts’

2019 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Prize, ‘West Footscray Factory Fire (an apocalypse)’ (read)

2016 Sister Alison Bush Medal for Indigenous achievement, University of Sydney


2020 QLA David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Indigenous Writer, Last Rites of Spring

2019 Liminal Fiction Prize (inaugural), ‘Terranora’

2019 Peter Carey Short Story Award, ‘Long Road: Becoming’

Grants & fellowships

2020 Creative Victoria VicArts Grant, With Teeth

2020 Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship, Goori-futurism

2019 Grace Marion Wilson Glenfern Fellowship, Goori-futurism

Current projects & appointments

Doctor of Arts (creative writing). Goori-futurism: stories of sovereignty and survivance, from Bundjalung country, community, and culture, University of Sydney, 2017-2021 (details)

Manuscript development. With Teeth (short story collection), Creative Victoria VicArts, 2020-2021

Guest lecture. ‘Writing Country: Indigenous approaches to place, time and narration’, ENGL1014 Creative Writing, University of Sydney, upcoming October 2020

Public lecture. ‘Piss and Vinegar – an autotheory’, Writing & Concepts: Lecture Series, upcoming November 2020 (details)

© Mykaela Saunders, 2020