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.

In this fascinating insight into a stellar career Leah Purcell retraces her journey from the modest beginnings in Murgon, Queensland, where she grew up as the youngest of seven siblings. Taking us back to her initial foray into acting, Leah reflects on the landscape for Aboriginal artists at the time. From memorable roles in the play Bran Nue Dae to her roles in iconic TV shows such as Police Rescue to Janet King to Wentworth to The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart along with classic films such as Jindabyne. She also had a presence in distinctive Black-led shows like Redfern Now and Black Comedy and write and starred in plays like Box the Pony to her roles in.

As her career progresses she ventures into TV and film writing and producing, including the amazing film The Drovers Wife. As a staunch supporter of her family and a business in her own right, Leah unveils the motivations driving her. Against the backdrop of the Festival’s theme, Blak Futures Now she contemplates the future for Blak writers, actors, and producers, reflecting on the changes witnessed during her career.

“Purcell’s work is playing an active role in reshaping dominant Australian narratives.” NITV

In partnership with Fed Square & Melbourne Writers Festival.

… Hey, you – booking tickets to this gets you two events for one price! This event includes Through Our Lens, where six writers share 12 images that define their stories.


“Leah Purcell’s Indigenous feminist reimagining of Henry Lawson’s classic is a bullet between the eyes of a whitewashed fable” The Guardian, on The Drovers Wife


Leah Purcell

A proud Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman from Queensland, Leah Purcell AM is one of Australia’s leading actors, with award-winning roles in theatre, film, and television. Leah headlines the upcoming Foxtel drama series High Country on which she also serves as Executive Producer and Cultural Advisor. The series is produced by Curio Pictures in association with…