The first ever Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival, Blak & Bright, will be run from the 18th-21st February this year, and will shine a spotlight on the diversity and richness of Indigenous writing. Lovers of literature and reading will get to choose from an exciting program featuring over 60 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, poets, novelists and more.
The festival will kick off with an opening address from bestselling author Anita Heiss on '20 Reasons Why You Should Read Blak'. She'll be joined by Indigenous actors, Pauline Whyman and Greg Fryer, who will be reading excerpts from 20 Blak books. If you miss out on the opening, Anita will also be running a popular fiction workshop, as she shares her tips for appealing story telling.
Other highlights include 'Borrow a (Rare) Living Book' where participants will be invited to sit down one-on-one and yarn with elders who have some fascinating stories to share. At 'Fresh Blak Writers' young Aboriginal storytellers will also share their work, coming from areas as diverse as playwriting, speculative fiction and screenwriting.
Novelist and poet Ellen Van Neervan will also be presenting a voice workshop which will explore how to be authentic in dialogue and encourage the representation of lives and identities not often present in Australian literature.
'The Ibis' book will also be launched as part of the festival. Created by a group of year 7 and 8 Koorie boys from Mooroopna, the book was created as part of a 6 month artist led workshop through Kids' Own Publishing. You'll also have the chance to create your own 8-page iPad book at the launch.
Blak & Bright is presented by First Nations Australia Writers' Network, with support from Australian Poetry, the City of Literature Office, the Small Press Network, the Wheeler Centre and Writers Victoria.
The festival provides a platform for learning more about Australian history through different voices and discovering Indigenous culture and storytelling. Most of the events are free, though bookings are essential to secure your spot.