Biography of Kimberley leader Wayne Bergmann gets a leg-up from the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund

Madelaine Dickie will be one of 11 authors to represent Australian literature on five different continents thanks to Writers Victoria and the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund. While many recipients will head overseas, Madelaine will use the money to research her proposed manuscript ‘Gas Days or the Cost of Doing Good: A Biography of Wayne Bergmann’ in Broome.

Judged by writer Eugen Bacon, publisher Kirstie Innes-Will from Black Inc., and podcaster Astrid Edwards, the competitive round received close to 100 applications.

Dickie said the support for Bergmann and his story was heartening. ‘Wayne is a proud Nyikina man who has worked tirelessly towards independent Aboriginal economic development. He has pursued a positive agenda for Kimberley Aboriginal people through his roles as CEO of KRED Enterprises and formerly as CEO of the Kimberley Land Council, and it was no surprise last year to see him become a finalist in the Western Australian of the Year Awards.’

Dickie said she and Wayne are keen to get started. ‘It was a privilege to be asked by Wayne to write this biography with him. The Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant means we can work together in Broome to bring an important story to life for readers around Australia.’

Wayne Bergmann is recognised as one of Australia’s leading advocates for Indigenous self-determination through economic empowerment and opportunity. A proud Nyikina man, boilermaker-welder and lawyer, Bergmann has served as Executive Director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), CEO of the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), Chair of Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation, Chair of the Expert Indigenous Working Group for the COAG Investigation into Indigenous Land Administration and Use, and is currently the CEO of KRED Enterprises, an Aboriginal charitable foundation.

Madelaine Dickie 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. Her second novel, Red Can Origami, is available to now from all good bookstores and online.

Other successful recipients in Round 5 of the travel fund were Evelyn Araluen, Jonathan Dunk, Fiona Hardy, Cate Kennedy, Tamara Lazaroff, Ruhi Lee, Robert Lukins, Mirandi Riwoe, Sara Saleh and Maria Takolander. In partnership with the Myer Foundation, the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund opened in 2017 to support emerging, midcareer and established Australian writers and literary sector workers.

More information is available on the Writers Victoria website.

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