Us Mob Writing is a group of First Nations Australians peoples’ with both emerging and established writers, poets and playwrights. Their writers past and present have written poetry, plays, songs, documentary films, short films, TV dramas, children’s story books, novels, short stories, biographies, and autobiographies.
They include in their company national and international major literary award winners, a national literary awards judge, and multiple nationally and internationally published, performed and produced writers. They meet every third Friday of the month at the ACT Writers Centre Workshop room.
Dr. Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri woman from South-west New south Wales. A Doctorate in the literature of Aboriginal representation followed a long teaching career at secondary and tertiary levels. Formerly a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Studies, she currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University. In 2010, Jeanine’s first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: AD 1887-1961 won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry from the Australian Poets’ Union and her manuscript, Purple Threads won the David Unaipon Award at the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing. Jeanine is the recipient of an Australian Research Council grant for a proposal called Reading the Nation: A critical study of Aboriginal/Settler representations in the contemporary Australian Literary Landscape.
At what age did you begin writing, and what did you write?
I have been writing since I was a child in the country and the mailman used to deliver bread wrapped up in brown paper and my aunties used to tell me to write a book on the paper. I wrote heaps.
A book or poem you often return to is… To Kill a Mockingbird by Nellie Harper Lee
Full-time or part-time poet? I’m a full time writer who holds a research position at ANU and I divide my time between poetry, prose and non-fiction. At the moment I am focussing on writing the book that is emerging from my doctoral thesis as I have a publishing contract for this work.
If you we’re offered a brunch with T.S. Eliot or Margaret Atwood, which acquaintance would you opt for, and why?
T.S Eliot by a long shot because he is a superb imagist. The Love-song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1920) is one of my favourite poems.
Tell us about your career highlight to date.
There have been several. I won the David Unaipon Award in 2010 for my manuscript Purple Threads (UQP) which when published went on to be a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. In 2010 I also won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry for a chapbook of poems Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D 1887-1961 (Presspress). I was awarded a PhD in literature in 2011, was successful in winning an Australian Research Council grant to write on and produce a book on historical representations of Aboriginal people in the works of Katharine Prichard, Xavier Herbert, Patrick White, David Malouf and Kate Grenville and won a postdoctoral fellowship at ANU in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History.
What is the greatest challenge you find yourself facing when writing?
Too much to say and not enough time.