Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko by LaVonne Bobognie Photography

Melissa Lucashenko became a writer “because my people — Australian Aboriginal or First Nations people — seemed absent from the literature I saw and read,” she tells GO. “That’s changed over the three decades I’ve been writing, but I love telling stories of fierce and proud Aboriginal peeps, so I keep writing novels and spending lots of time in my imagination with incredible warriors and adventurers.” Lucashenko, a Goorie writer of Bundjalung and European heritage, has paved the way for this change with her own critically-acclaimed novels, starting with her 1997 debut, “Steam Pigs.” Her sixth novel, “Too Much Lip,” won both the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Stella Prize, two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, two Queensland Literary Awards, and two New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Her essay, “Sinking Below Sight: Down and Out in Brisbane and Logan,” won the 2013 Walkley Award for Long Form Journalism, Australia’s equivalent of the Pulitzer. Lucashenko serves as a founding member of Sisters Inside, a human rights organization that advocates for the rights of imprisoned women and girls. For the LGBTQ+ community, she has warm words of encouragement and self-love: “Celebrate exactly who you are and don’t give even one second of your precious time to haters, homophobes, or people who want to control your identity. The world is full of miserable souls who are frightened of free humans and whose crippling terror wants to shut us down. Just smile and wave on your way to fabulousness, sibs!” —RK

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