Read, Discovered, Laughed with, Been challenged by, Been inspired by, Been moved by, Been surprised by
a Blak book
Blak literature covers all genres, from songs to essays, from oral stories to epic novels, from plays to poetry. Blak stories are for everyone. So if you want to be informed, inspired and entertained...
This is your festival.
5—8 September 2019.
Pre-announce on Thursday 11 July.
Full programme available Monday 5 August.
Most sessions FREE!


Change the date? A Hypothetical

Blaktivists vs Blakademics argue the toss. Should Australia Day happen on 26 January – or not – and why? It’s a serious topic but we’ve thrown in a dollop of Blak humour. With Nayuka Gorrie, Yvette Holt, Liza-Mare Syron and Jason Tamiru. Moderator Gregory Phillips. Presented in partnership with Melbourne Writers Festival and the Wheeler…

September 5, 2019

Official Opening: Read a Blak Book lately?

We welcome you to the Blak & Bright 2019 Official Opening, including a Welcome to Country, ceremonial song with James Henry, and speeches. This will be followed by our opening event, in which hosts Daniel Browning and Evelyn Araluen discuss and review some of the latest, and some of the greatest, Blak books. Hear excerpts…

September 6, 2019

Nocturnal with Birdz, DRMNGNOW, The Merindas, Soju Gang, DJ KYAANZ

Blak & Bright and Melbourne Writers Festival team up together with Melbourne Museum to present an extra special Nocturnal.  As sacred museum spaces come to life, you’re invited to get loose and celebrate music, language and dancing your face off. Featuring Birdz, DRMNGNOW, The Merindas, Soju Gang, DJ KYAANZ. Presented in partnership with Melbourne Writers…

September 6, 2019

Treaty, Yeah

Victoria is embarking on a Treaty process – the first State to do so. How do writers from other states respond – in a creative way – to the idea of a Treaty? We’ve asked some of our most lyrical and expressive poets and writers to pen their responses. With Ali Cobby Eckermann, Uncle Jim…

September 7, 2019

Charcoal Lane: Quandong and Magpie

Enjoy a Rosella flower cocktail on arrival while schmoozing with the Blak & Bright literati (plainly speaking, a big mob) at acclaimed restaurant Charcoal Lane. You’ll enjoy gourmet Indigenous canapés, music and drinks while the guest speaker, Stan Yarramunua (biography A Man Called Yarra), shares the story of his extraordinary life. This event is a fundraiser…

September 7, 2019

Nayuka Gorrie

Nayuka is a Gunai, Gunditmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta writer. Nayuka’s writing spans social commentary on black, queer and feminist politics to television writing. They are a 2018 Next Chapter recipient and they are finishing their book of essays as part of this. They’re writing appears in Queerstories, Going Postal and the forthcoming Growing Up…

Yvette Holt

Brisbane-born poet, academic, stand-up comedienne and photographer of femin_artistry desert landscapes – Yvette Holt heralds from the Yiman, Bidjara and Wakaman Nations of Queensland. A multi-award winning poet, Chairperson of the First Nations Australia Writers Network FNAWN. Yvette’s poetry has been widely anthologised and translated online and in print.

Liza-Mare Syron

Dr Liza-Mare Syron (Biripai) is an actor, director, producer, teacher and academic. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Moogahlin Performing Arts. Previous positions include, Head of Theatre (Eora College), Senior Cultural Arts Officer (Arts NSW), and Research Fellow (Macquarie University).

Jason Tamaru

Jason Tamiru is a proud Yorta Yorta man passionate about his people and culture. He has worked with many of Melbourne’s most iconic performing arts companies, museums and festivals. As a producer he supports his people’s creativity by building frameworks that complement cultural expressions. Jason is influenced by anything and everything that stimulates his spirit…

Gregory Phillips

Professor Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru peoples, is a medical anthropologist, and leads change in cultural safety and self-determination. He is CEO of ABSTARR Consulting.

Evelyn Araluen

Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Born, raised, and writing in Dharug country, she is a Bundjalung descendant.

Ali Cobby Eckermann

In 2013 Ali (Yankunytjatjara) won the Kenneth Slessor Prize and Book Of The Year (NSW) for Ruby Moonlight. In 2014 Ali attended the International Writing Program in Iowa City. In 2017 Ali received a Windham Campbell Award for Poetry from Yale University and was awarded a Literature Fellowship by the Australian Council for the Arts…

Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta

Jim Everett – puralia meenamatta. A plangermairreenner man, Turbuna-Meenamatta, Tasmania. Jim worked for 15 years as a fisherman, merchant seaman, at the Australian Regular Army, in Aboriginal organisations and the public service. Wrote We Are Survivors (1984) and produced, directed, and acted in it. Written works include plays, papers and short stories. Produced One People…

Lidia Thorpe

Lidia is a proud Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman, mother of 3 and grandmother of 2. Some of her roles include: Managing director of Clan Corporation, a sustainable housing and renewable energy business catering to remote Aboriginal communities. Former chair of the Victorian NAIDOC Committee. Former Aboriginal employment adviser for the Municipal Association of Victoria, former President of…


Northern Territory-raised rapper BIRDZ continues to solidify his spot as one of the most exciting acts in the Australian music scene. In 2017, following an emotive Triple J Like A Version performance, the rapper released his debut album Train Of Thought to critical acclaim taking out the Best Independent Hip Hop album at the 2018 AIR…


DRMNGNOW is an independent artist based in Naarm/Birraranga (Melbourne), who is also known as Neil Morris. His sound and approach, grounded in strong culture and values, fuses a striking interdisciplinary approach to his art as an MC, instrumentalist and poet with a searing decolonial and culturally engrossing message.

The Merindas

Melbourne based duo The Merindas are a synthesis of warrior queen, on-trend style of rhythmic, expressive music dedicated to their cultural heritage and unprecedented on the Australian music scene. Accompanied on stage by the mastery of Jake Steele’s mixing skills, together they create an atmospheric fusion of Indigenous, electro-tribal pop.

Soju Gang

No stranger to the Melbourne party scene, Soju Gang is hard to miss, and her DJ flavour hard to resist. She spins a set as powerful and eclectic as her personal style. With deep roots in ’80s and ’90s hip-hop, R&B and everything party, Soju Gang has a hard-hitting presence in the local scene, and…


DJ KYAANZ is Kalyani Mumtaz. Ending her stint as the front person of Willow Beats, the electronic pop duo that sold out shows across the country, Mumtaz brings her love of dancing to the decks. DJ KYAANZ seeks to create a fun and inclusive dance floor through a selection of pop, R&B, and First Nations…

Daniel Browning

Daniel Browning is a journalist, radio broadcaster, documentary maker, sound artist and writer. Currently, he produces and presents Awaye!, the Indigenous art and culture program on ABC Radio National. Daniel is a descendant of the Bundjalung and Kullilli peoples of far northern New South Wales and south-western Queensland.

Marie Munkara

Born on the banks of the Mainoru River in Arnhemland Marie has written two novels, two children’s books and a memoir which is currently being made into a film. Marie is currently working on two TV mini-series and is doing a PhD.

Stan Yarramunua

Stan Yarramunua started painting over 20 years ago. He began by selling paintings, didgeridoos and clap sticks at markets and galleries. This led him to building relationships and representing Victorian Aboriginal Artists. Over many years, Yarramunua worked in the desert and had the opportunity to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal Desert Artists, so he began…

James Henry

The multi-talented James Henry can be found involved in many fields of the music industry from singer/songwriter to engineer to musical director. His diverse skill set has seen him perform as a guitarist with the Black Arm Band tour of the UK, choir member and guitarist as part of the Archie Roach Into the Bloodstream…