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2024 Boundless Indigenous Mentorship winner

Bardi writer Kalem Murray wins the 2024 Boundless Mentorship and will be mentored by Mykaela Saunders.

Kalem Murray has won the 2024 Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship for his manuscript Regression. This speculative fiction story explores the trope of returning home, and is set in a small town amid bizarre and unsettling disappearances of the townspeople.

Murray has worked in radio and television for decades, and his instincts for a story are finely tuned. His first story, ‘Curtain Call’, was recognised by the National Indigenous Story Awards, and in 2022, Murray featured in the anthology This All Come Back Now.

Text author and 2020 Boundless mentee John Morrissey was this year’s judge and said: ‘Regression was for me the standout. I felt it brought together different elements in an interesting way and I was genuinely quite curious to see what direction the narrative would take.’ Morrissey’s first book, Firelight, was published by Text in August 2023, and was shortlisted for the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

The Boundless Mentorship is presented by Text Publishing and Writing NSW, with the support of the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) and Booktopia. It is awarded annually to an emerging Indigenous writer who has made substantial progress on a fiction or non-fiction writing project. The winner is paired with an established Indigenous writer for a structured year-long mentorship as they develop their manuscript.

Mykaela Saunders, David Unaipon Award-winning editor of This All Come Back Now (2022) and author of Always Will Be (2024) will mentor Murray.

Writing NSW CEO Sophie Groom says: ‘The Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship is a key program for Writing NSW, and we’re delighted to present it again in 2024 in partnership with Text Publishing, with the generous support of FNAWN and Booktopia. Kalem Murray is a real talent, and we can’t wait to see his already impressive work progress over the coming year.’

Text publisher Michael Heyward says: ‘Text is honoured to support the Boundless Mentorship in partnership with Writing NSW. Last year we published Firelight by John Morrissey under the auspices of Boundless, and we look forward to supporting more Indigenous Australian writers through this innovative program. Congratulations to the 2024 winner, Kalem Murray, who will be mentored by Mykaela Saunders.’

Lenora Thaker, 2021 Boundless winner, is due to be published by Text in 2025, joining John Morrissey as a former Boundless mentee going on to be published.

Kalem Murray is a Bardi man from Broome who moved to Darwin over 20 years ago to create a family. After decades of working in Aboriginal radio and television as an editor and voiceover artist, he began to write. His first short story ‘Curtain Call’ was recognised in the National Indigenous Story Awards. Then the story ‘In His Father’s Footsteps’ was featured in the anthology This All Come Back Now in 2022, and ‘A Return to Form’ in New Australian Fiction 2023. Drawing on his background growing up in Broome, his writing takes inspiration from the unique culture and stories. Kalem is currently working on multiple longform manuscripts and hopes to have a published novel soon.

Dr Mykaela Saunders is the author of Always Will Be (UQP 2024), a short-story collection of speculative fiction which won the David Unaipon Award, and the editor of This All Come Back Now, the Aurealis Award-winning, world-first anthology of blackfella speculative fiction (UQP 2022). Mykaela has won other prizes for fiction, poetry, life writing and research, including the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize and the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University. Of Dharug and Lebanese descent, Mykaela belongs to the Tweed Goori community.

John Morrissey is a Melbourne writer of Kalkadoon descent. His work has been published in OverlandVoiceworksMeanjin 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, and his debut short story collection, Firelight, was published by Text in 2023.

The Boundless Mentorship is presented by Text Publishing and Writing NSW, with the support of Booktopia.

It is awarded annually to an emerging Indigenous writer, who is paired with a senior Indigenous writer for a structured year-long mentorship to develop their manuscript.

Key dates and submission information can be found at   

For enquiries, please contact:

Adara Enthaler, Writing NSW:   
Dante Boffa, Text Publishing:   


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