Mykaela Saunders

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’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 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 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

Shortlisted

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

Current projects

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

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

Upcoming

Book launch – 12 November 2020. Collisions: Fictions of the Future, a Liminal Anthology, with Claire Cao and Naima Ibrahim, hosted by Peter Polites, Better Read Than Dead

Public lecture – 19 November 2020. ‘Piss and Vinegar – an autotheory’, Writing & Concepts: Lecture Series

© Mykaela Saunders, 2020