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.

Join us for the captivating realm of The Bogong, where diverse storytellers from various genres converge to deliver meticulously crafted spoken word pieces, each exploring a profound narrative of lived experiences. For this Festival, the overarching theme is ‘Blak Futures Now.

Wondering about the name? In the lofty mountainous regions of the eastern states, traditionally the swam of the Bogong moth orchestrates a mesmerizing spectacle, drawing First Nations people from far and wide to indulge in its protein-rich abundance. The Bogong event mirrors this gathering—a jubilant celebration and a literary feast, where words take centre stage.

As custodians of continuous storytelling, The Bogong opens a window into the rich tapestry of First Nations peoples’ experiences. Brace yourself for a journey that transcends emotions—expect to be moved, to share laughter and to catch a glimpse into the profound connections forged with culture, family, and place. The Bogong promises an immersive experience that resonates with the timeless essence of storytelling.

With Debra Dank, Elijah Money, Gary Lonesborough, Sermsah Bin Saad, John Morrissey, Tamala Shelton, Waubgeshig Rice, and Melodie Reynolds-Diarra.


Debra Dank

I am Gudanji/Wakaja, and we are from the Barkly Tablelands in the Northern Territory. For almost 40 years I have worked in various roles in primary, secondary and tertiary education including class teacher (primary and secondary), special education teacher, senior teacher, regional consultant, regional manager, lecturer, senior lecturer and Head of School (tertiary). I have…

Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written four fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His breakthrough novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. The sequel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, was published…

Gary Lonesborough

Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin writer, who grew up on the Far South Coast of NSW as part of a large and proud Aboriginal family. Growing up a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan, Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study…

Tamala Shelton

Tamala Shelton is a proud Bundjalung and Lama Lama actor, audiobook narrator, writer and spoken word artist based in Naarm (Melbourne). She has been working professionally in the creative arts industries for over 10 years and has recently begun her journey as a spoken word performer.

Elijah Money

Elijah Money is a queer Wiradjuri brotherboy who was raised on Kulin Nations where he continues to reside. His practice includes visual art, writing, MC, workshop facilitator, drag performance and more. These are all ingrained with strong recurring themes of colonialism, assimilation, skin colour, gender, mental illness, sexuality, climate change, stolen generations, identity as well…

John Morrissey

John Morrissey is a Melbourne writer of Kalkadoon descent. His work has been published in Overland, Voiceworks, Meanjin and the anthology This All Come Back Now. He was the winner of the 2020 Boundless Mentorship and the runner-up for the 2018 Nakata Brophy Prize. His first collection of stories, Firelight, was published in 2023.

Sermsah Bin Saad

Sermsah’s name in the Indigenous  community is synonymous with theatre, television, film, radio, festival circuits, opera, dance and choreography. He was top 7 Males on “So You Think You Can Dance Australia “ in 2008 and made history as the first ever Indigenous dancer introducing Traditional/Contemporary dance on commercial television. Sermsah credits include touring & performing with Mitch Tambo on the…

Melodie Reynolds-Diarra

Melodie is a Wongutha Nadju woman from Western Australia. Melodie was born in Kalgoorlie and grew up in Esperance before making her acting debut at the age of 16 in No Sugar at Belvoir St. She went on to graduate from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 1996. Melodie has performed in…