We are excited to announce that the inaugural 2016 Indigenous Poet-in-Residence (PIR) is Samuel Wagan Watson. Sam is an award-winning Indigenous poet and professional raconteur from the south-side of Brisbane and comes from a family of accomplished writers and artists. He hails from an ancestry of Birri Gubba, Munanjali, Germanic and Gaelic peoples. Collected works of his poetry have achieved accolades, been translated into 8 languages, various musical compositions, film productions and public/visual art projects. Samuel’s first collection of poems won the 1998 David Unaipon Award. His fourth collection, Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the 2005 NSW Premier’s Award for the Book of the Year and the Kenneth Slessor poetry prize. His most recent collection is Love Poems and Death Threats (UQP.) Samuel has toured Australia extensively as a writer, has been a writer-in-residence at a number of institutions and has toured New Zealand, Germany and Norway to promote his work.
QPF Festival Co-Director's Annie Te Whiu and David Stavanger said that the creation of the first-ever QPF Indigenous Poet in Residence recognises not only the traditional owners of the land the festival is held on but also the rich tradition of oral storytelling of Australia’s first poets. 2016 festival's theme Lost Language, Found will also see #QPF2016 have a strong focus on and celebration of Indigenous and First Nation voices.
Sam will be the Indigenous PIR from 21-28th August for a one-week residency. During this period he will conduct a Murri school poetry workshop, a workshop and reading as part of Quandamooka Festival, present a free public poetry of protocol – writing acknowledgement to country public workshop at SLQ’s kuril dhagun, do a regional reading in Toowoomba with the 2016 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, hosting an all-Indigenous poetry reading with morning tea in Musgrave Park, deliver QPF2016’s festival address as well as being based at Judith Wright’s writing desk and presenting readings as part of the Queensland Poetry Festival.
The Indigenous Poet-in-Residence Program is an ongoing project of QPF, funded by Australia Council for the Arts in 2016.