WA bio in the mix

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Madelaine Dickie has been shortlisted for a 2020 Hazel Rowley Fellowship to write a biography on Kimberley Indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann.
Camera IconMadelaine Dickie has been shortlisted for a 2020 Hazel Rowley Fellowship to write a biography on Kimberley Indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann.

An Exmouth writer has been shortlisted as the only WA contender for a prestigious literary prize worth $15,000.

Troppo and Red Can Origami author Madelaine Dickie has been shortlisted for the 2020 Hazel Rowley Fellowship that provides creatives with the opportunity to research and progress a biography.

Dickie, pictured, said the fellowship would allow her to pursue research on a biography of Kimberley indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann.

“This fellowship would support travel from my home in Exmouth up to the Kimberley to pursue research for the book and would also help me with some living expenses during the drafting process,” she said. “It would be a great help in easing the load and would give me more time to dedicate to telling this compelling, raw and engaging tale.

“I’m over the moon to be shortlisted for such a prestigious fellowship.”

Dickie said it was great for West Australian stories to be appreciated in the Eastern States.

“Our stories from the remote parts of northern WA are really distinct, really unique,” she said.

“I feel like my stories are shaped by the giant skies, that maddening desert wind, the pindan, the spinifex and the extreme summer heat.”

Dickie said she had been approached by Mr Bergmann to write the biography.

“I’ve worked with Wayne in different capacities for about five years,” she said.

“Most of this work was for Kimberley traditional owners and it shaped my understanding of politics and history.

“I’m hoping to bring this understanding to the way I work with Wayne on crafting this book.”

Biographer Hazel Rowley’s sister Della Rowley said there a record number of applications had been received this year.

“It is very exciting to see the diverse range of subjects and literary approaches to biographical writing around Australia,” she said.

The fellowship was now in its ninth year and had attracted more than 60 applications from biographers and memoir writers across Australia, she said.

The winner will be announced at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on March 20.

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