Stories of sovereignty and survivance, from Bundjalung country, community, and culture

Mykaela Saunders


For this project I’m writing a short story collection, accompanied by an exegesis that maps the research and writing process.

Goori-futurism combines four of my interests:

• Aboriginal sovereignty and survivance, and fictional representations thereof
• the future of Bundjalung country, community, and culture
• the Indigenous Futurism genre
• creative writing in the short story form

These interests converge in my story collection: each story explores different expressions of Aboriginal sovereignty and survivance; the stories are all set in different versions of the future, in the Tweed, with various climate scenarios, population dynamics and political structures; each story responds to the prevailing themes and tropes within Indigenous Futurism; and the stories experiment with form and craft.

This project initiates the discipline of Goori-futurism as a place-based offspring of Indigenous Futurism. The project delineates the boundaries of Goori-futurism, and seeks to articulate a philosophy and aesthetics of the genre while resisting prescriptive genre protocols. I intend to develop Goori-futurism further in ongoing creative and critical work, and I hope that it continues to expand through the contributions of other blackfellas, particularly Goori writers and artists.

I’m undertaking this project for a Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney, in the Department of English’s creative writing program. My supervisors are Dr Peter Minter and Dr Vanessa Berry, and submission date is May 2021.

I’m grateful for support for this project during my Grace Marion Wilson Glenfern Fellowship in 2019, and the Varuna Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship in 2020.

Read & listen

Research profile, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, 2019 (read)

Short story, part of the story collection’s framing narrative:
Buried time, Overland 234: Autumn, 2019 (read)
Editorial comments by Evelyn Araluen and Jonathan Dunk, Overland 234, 2019 (read)

Conference paper outlining my creative practise, research and writing frameworks, and aims for the project:
Goori-futurism: envisioning the sovereignty of Minjungbal-Nganduwal country, community, and culture through speculative fiction, SFRA Review 330: Fall, 2019 (read)

Podcast of panel discussion, describing world-building process for the stories:
World-Building 101 with Catherine McKinnon and Mitchell Hogan, moderated by Keith Stevenson, Writing NSW Speculative Fiction Festival, Sydney, 2019 (listen)

© Mykaela Saunders, 2020