The Regional Arts Fund is set to help writer Madelaine Dickie tackle a new book on Kimberley Traditional Owner Wayne Bergmann

Novelist and City of Fremantle Hungerford Award winner Madelaine Dickie will try her hand at a new genre next year. The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund grant will enable the Exmouth resident to commence the research and development of a unique biography about Wayne Bergmann, a Nyikina man, former finalist in the Western Australian of the Year Awards and former CEO of the Kimberley Land Council.

The announcement comes just days before Dickie’s second novel, Red Can Origami, is set to hit bookstores around the country. Red Can Origami is a fictionalised account of a bitter collision between a native title group and a Japanese-owned uranium mining company ripping the Kimberley community in half. When talking about the inspiration behind it, Dickie said, ‘Through work in the Kimberley, I’ve attended native title consent determinations, Indigenous Protected Area celebrations, back to country trips and huge bush meetings attended by hundreds of people. It’s truly exhilarating working in the native title space under the leadership of Kimberley Traditional Owners. So many great leaders pair political savvy with strong cultural values to drive a positive agenda for Kimberley Aboriginal people. I have been lucky to be a part of this as it’s profoundly changed the way I consider country and what it means to be an Australian.’

The biography, which was suggested by Bergmann himself, was one of three arts projects to share in the latest round of grants. The other successful applicants were the Shire of Ashburton for murals on the Onslow water tanks depicting local history, and Roebourne’s Big hART Inc. for an intergenerational, multimedia Pilbara Indigenous women’s project.

In a media statement released today, Melissa Price, the Member for Durack, said she was thrilled to congratulate the recipients. Ms Price said, ‘Arts, cultural activities and experiences are important points of connection celebrating local talent, stories and experiences.’

Madelaine is a young author based in regional WA, whose first novel, Troppo, was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Dobbie Literary Award, and won the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. Red Can Origami is available to pre-order now from all good bookstores and online.

Each year the government provides around $3.5 million through the fund, which is delivered by Regional Arts Australia and organisations in each state and territory. For more information about the Regional Arts Fund, visit their website.

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