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.

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO (Yorta Yorta/Yuin) is a respected human rights advocate and recognised thought leader on the importance of cultural authority in the Art Music space. Throughout a long and distguished career Deborah has championed the voice and visibility of classically trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island musicians through her achievements a composer, performer and artistic director of the Australia’s national First Nations Opera Company Short Black Opera.

Deborah’s career and achievements have been celebrated with a number of significant awards and commendations including most recently the Don Banks Music Award (2023), Queensland Government – Australian Women in Music Lifetime Achievement Awards (2022), the JC Williamson Lifetime Achievement Award (2021) and the the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for service to music; In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Deborah was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance.

In 2022 Deborah was appointed as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA).

Deborah describes herself as a 21st century urban woman who is Yorta Yorta by birth, stolen generation by government policy, soprano by diligence, composer by necessity and lesbian by practice.