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’ve been writing fiction and poetry since 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 and a novel:

Goori-futurism is my speculative fiction showcase of sovereign Bundjalung futures, and makes up the creative component of my doctoral project.

• With Teeth is a collection of satirical and absurdist stories exploring contemporary Aboriginal experiences in the arts, activism, and academia. This collection is supported by Creative Victoria.

• Last Rites of Spring, my novel, is “a confronting and experimental narrative journey through the damages of the past, an oppressive present and an uncertain future”.

I was born on my Dharug ancestors’ lands in Western Sydney, and grew up between there and in Tweed Heads, in Minjungbal-Nganduwul country, community, and culture. I belong to the Tweed Goori 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 work with gratitude between the lands of the Dharug-Eora, Kulin, and Bundjalung nations – Sydney, Melbourne, and the northern rivers of NSW.

Awards

Winner

2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, River Story

2020 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize, Choice Cuts

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

2016 USYD Sister Alison Bush Medal, contribution to Indigenous community

Shortlist

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

2019 Liminal Fiction Prize (inaugural), Terranora

2019 Peter Carey Short Story Award, Long Road: Becoming

Grants & fellowships

2020 EWF At Home Residency, Last Rites of Spring

2020 Creative Victoria VicArts Grant, With Teeth

2020 Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship, Goori-futurism

2019 Grace Marion Wilson Glenfern Fellowship, Goori-futurism

© Mykaela Saunders, 2020