Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the sacred lands on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nations and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past present and future.

We recognise all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first storytellers; and that knowledge transfer through storytelling is imbedded in the very DNA of this Country.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

YIRRAMBOI Festival: 21 Poems

April 2023

Friday 5 May 2023, 6pm to 8pm 21 Poems is a beacon of brilliance that will burn as a powerful start to the first weekend of YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival. Join us under the galactic lights of The Atrium at Federation Square Naarm, where seven First Nations poets will read two of their own…

YIRRAMBOI Festival: 21 Poems

Friday 5 May 2023, 6pm to 8pm

21 Poems is a beacon of brilliance that will burn as a powerful start to the first weekend of YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival.

Join us under the galactic lights of The Atrium at Federation Square Naarm, where seven First Nations poets will read two of their own poems and one of their favourites by another poet. Igniting this celebration of spoken word and poetry will be Maya Hodge, Laniyuk, Aunty Charmaine Papertalk Green, Declan Fry, Brodie Murray, Bebe Backhouse and Nelson Baker. Presented by Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival with support from Fed Sq.


The Atrium, Fed Square Cnr Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne VIC 3000


Fri 5 May 6pm – 8pm



In the local languages of the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung peoples, YIRRAMBOI means TOMORROW.

YIRRAMBOI festival platforms the interconnectedness and diversity of First Nations creatives, locally, nationally and internationally. A 10 day feast of mediums spanning the breadth of artistic expressions with a collective voice of resilience and evolutionary practices. Emerging, mid-career and established First Nations creatives taking back space to crack open the heart of Melbourne, revealing the hum of country beneath. Will you hear it?

Returning for its 4th Iteration from the 4 – 14 May 2023, YIRRAMBOI invites audiences to immerse themselves in Blak stories, Blak truth, Blak brilliance.

Poet, actor, and model Nelson Baker is a proud Nyikina man who belongs to Mardowarra (Fitzroy River). He writes about his lived experience as a Blak man. Speaking to culture, family, identity, connection, and struggling in the colonised system, he expresses that our collective strength is found in our connections to country and each other. He has performed at venues, festivals, and cultural events across Australia including APAM, Section 8, Astor Theatre, Barring Yanabul, Blak & Bright, and the Forum in collaboration with Hiatus Kaiyote.

Charmaine is a visual artist, poet and writer working under the name Charmaine Papertalk Green to honour both her parents. Her publications include ART(Magabala Books, 2022); Just Like That (Fremantle Art Press, 2007); Tiptoeing Tod the Tracker (Oxford University Press, 2014); False Claim of Colonial Thieves (Magabala Books, 2018); Nganajungu Yagu (Cordite Publishing Inc.’s, 2019); and numerous anthologies and other publications. In 2019 Charmaine was shortlisted in The Adelaide Festival John Bray Award 2020 and the ALS Gold Medal 2019 for False Claim of Colonial Thieves (Magabala Books). In 2020 Charmaine won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2020 poetry category, shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal (2020) winning the ALS Gold Medal 2020 and short listed in the 2020 Queensland Premiers Literary Award Judith Wright Calanthe Prize for Nganajungu Yagu (Cordite Publishing Inc.).

A descendant of the Bardi Jawi people of the Kimberley region of north-Western Australia, Bebe Backhouse is an award-winning writer and creative leader who’s called Naarm home for many years. Beginning his creative practice as a classical pianist and composer, Bebe later made a name for himself as a producer and director of theatre, festivals, and public art projects across Australia, including international dance and theatre projects in New Zealand, France, and Belgium. A writer, poet, illustrator, speaker, and facilitator living on the unceded land of the Kulin peoples, Bebe’s works encompass love, loss, identity, Aboriginal and gay existence, place, and Country.

Brodie (he/him) is a Wamba Wamba playwright and performer. He is the recipient of the Young Achiever VIC Arts Award 2023, the Australia Council for the Arts First Nations Emerging Career Development Award, 2022; the Wilin Centre Best Emerging Indigenous Artist Award 2021, the Melbourne Fringe Festival Young Creatives Award 2021. Selected writing credits include – Soul of Possum, YIRRAMBOI 2021; Billy’s Choice, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021; The Whisper, Deadly Fringe 2022.

Declan Fry has written for the Guardian, Meanjin, Overland, Westerly and elsewhere. His poetry has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and selected for The Best Australian Science Writing 2021. He was a winner of the 2021 Griffith Review Emerging Voices Competition, received the 2021 Peter Blazey Fellowship, and was nominated in 2022 for the Pascall Prize in criticism. His latest work appears in Another Australia (Affirm Press).

Maya Hodge is a Lardil and Yangkaal emerging writer and curator based on the lands of the Kulin Nation. Her practice is dedicated to disrupting colonial narratives and centring First Nations storytelling and autonomy. Maya’s writing and poetry have been published by Craft Victoria, Books+Publishing, Hardie Grant, Cordite Poetry Review, and Overland. She has recently completed a publishing internship with Open Book and last year was selected as a runner-up for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition.


Laniyuk is a Larrakia, Kungarakan, Gurindji and French writer and performer. She has been published nationally and internationally online and in print. She has been awarded multiple writers residencies and was shortlisted for Overland’s 2018 Nakata-Brophy poetry prize. Laniyuk runs poetry workshops, moderates panel discussions and has given guest lectures at ANU and The University of Melbourne. She is currently completing her first collection of work to be published through Magabala Books.