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 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 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. My work has since been published across forms and disciplines, won and placed in writing prizes, and attracted funding and fellowships.

My doctoral project is called Goori-futurism, and for the creative component of this project I’m working on a short story collection, due May 2021. Thanks to the support of Creative Victoria, I’m also working on With Teeth, another collection of short stories, exploring contemporary Aboriginal experiences in the arts, activism and academia.

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).

Awards

Winner

2020 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize, ‘Choice Cuts’ (details)

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

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

Shortlisted

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

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

2019 Liminal Fiction Prize (inaugural), ‘Terranora’ (details)

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

Grants & fellowships

2020 Creative Victoria VicArts Grant, With Teeth (details)

2020 Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship, Goori-futurism (details)

2019 Grace Marion Wilson Glenfern Fellowship, Goori-futurism (details)

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)

Course co-ordinator & lecturer. INDG1001 Introduction to Indigenous Cultures, Winter school program, University of Sydney, 2017-present (details)

Guest lecturer. ‘Indigenous Writing’, 54075 Creative Writing Project, University of Technology Sydney, upcoming August 2020 (details)

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

© Mykaela Saunders, 2020