Meet our 2018 Poets-in-Residence

The Queensland Poetry Festival is thrilled to announce two 2018 poets-in-residence who, in keeping with festival tradition, will play key roles in the festival program.

The 2018 Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence is Yona Harvey (pictured above left), an award-winning African-American poet, literary artist and contributing writer to Marvel Comics’ best-selling Black Panther series, making her one of the first black women ever to have written for Marvel. Recipient of a Kate Tufts Discovery Award (for her debut collection Hemming the Water) and a Barbara Deming Award for feminists in the arts, Harvey lives in Pennsylvania, where she teaches poetry at the University of Pittsburgh and facilitates non-fiction workshops for adolescents writing about mental illness.

The 2018 Indigenous Poet-in-Residence is Alison Whittaker, a Gomeroi poet and law scholar. She was a 2017—2018 Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. In 2017, Alison received the Judith Wright Poetry Prize for MANY GIRLS WHITE LINEN, and in 2015 her first collection Lemons in the Chicken Wire was developed under a black&write! fellowship from the State Library of Queensland. Alison’s latest collection of essays, short fiction and poetry, blakwork, is out in September 2018 with Magabala.

Harvey and Whittaker will spend time getting to know local poets and audiences in Brisbane and regional Queensland in the lead up to and during festival week. They will each host workshops, deliver readings, contribute to panel discussions as well as taking some time to write and enjoying all the festival has to offer.

Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said the two visiting poets would find Queensland to be a welcoming environment with a keen writing community.

“We are extremely fortunate to host these award-winning writers who will share their experience and learnings with Queensland writers and the wider community,” Minister Enoch said.

“For more than a decade, the Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence has been a creative cornerstone of Queensland’s literary culture, celebrating poetry as a dynamic contemporary art form.”

QPF Artistic Director Lucy Nelson says:

 “We are thrilled to welcome these two powerful and significant poets to Queensland. Their work is beautifully complementary to the 2018 festival theme Vital Signs: the healing power of story, and their thoughts and visions will make valuable contributions.

 Audiences not yet familiar with their work will fall in love with it this year. Aside from incredible talent, these two women bring with them a generosity of spirit that is reflective of and welcomed by the Queensland poetry community.”

Each year the Queensland Poetry Festival invites one international poet and one Indigenous Australian poet to the prestigious positions of poets in residence.

Recent Arts Queensland Poets-in-Residence include Courtney Sina-Meredith, Joy Harjo, Jeet Thayil and Kate Durbin.

The Indigenous Poet-in-Residence program – now in its third year – has recently played host to Samuel Wagan Watson and Ali Cobby Eckermann.

The 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival will take place from 23—26 August at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts. Satellite events will take place at other venues throughout Brisbane and regional Queensland.

The full schedule of events, including activities of our poets-in-residence, will be announced at the Queensland Poetry Festival program launch on 19 July.

The Queensland Poetry Festival and Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence program is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. The Indigenous poet-in-residence is generously supported by Brian Tucker Accounting.