As the winner of the 2014 inaugural Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, sponsored by Trinity College, Jessica Hart was awarded $5,000 and the opportunity to stay as a Writer-in-Residence at Trinity.
Travelling from her home in Cairns, Jessica took up her residency in College over the summer. During this time Jessica penned ‘Land Mountain’, a collection of poems that she gifted Trinity.
‘Trinity College made me feel very much at home. I found my time in Melbourne and in residence a truly valuable experience, one that has made me learn a great deal about myself and grow as a writer and as a poet. It will continue to enrich my writing and poetry for years to come,’ Jessica says.
‘I have been introduced to new perspectives and subject matter, and it shows in my writing. This would be one of the reasons that I decided to gift Trinity College a collection of poems.’
Jessica chose to call the collection of poems ‘Land Mountain’, after the entry that won her the Nakata Brophy Prize. ‘The poems are an extension of the winning sonnet. I wanted to take it to another level and give it more height. I try to connect the dots between the human world and our environment. I also reference other points of culture, such as literature and art.’
‘I keep the poetry and subject matter as simple as possible, as part of my attempt to show the world as objectively as I possibly can, to allow the reader the largest range of interpretation, critical or otherwise.’
With her prize money Jessica found herself a new writing desk.
‘I think it’s of utmost importance for a writer to have a writing desk that they are comfortable working on. It allows you a familiar workspace that stimulates productivity and encourages good work,’ she says.
‘This opportunity has allowed me the scope for further development as a young writer, and also as a young Indigenous writer. Contributions from Indigenous writers are fundamentally important to Australian literature. Trinity College realises this, and helps its recipients to realise this as well.’
You can read the full collection of ‘Land Mountain’ poems here.