Lenora Thaker is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman (Erub-le and Mabuiag-le), born and raised on Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji country in far north Queensland. In 2021 she became the first Torres Strait Islander to win the Writing NSW Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship. She is a descendant of the Torres Strait Islanders of Cairns Malaytown (a makeshift village cobbled around swampland, late 1800s to early 1950s), who are the inspiration for her first novel. With a working title, ‘The Pearl of Shantytown’, her book is soon to be published by Text Publishing.
Jillian is a Samsep and Zagareb woman of Erub and Mer. Born and raised on Waiben, Zenadth Kes (Thursday Island, Torres Strait). Jillian’s heritage stems back to New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and Ayreshire, Scotland.
Jillian attended Thursday Island State High School in the 80’s where she discovered her love for creative writing. It wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to start writing professionally.
Jillian’s first book Bakir and Bi was a winner at the 2012 Black&write! Fellowship competition with State Library Queensland. Bakir and Bi achieved international acclaim when it was chosen for the White Raven’s Catalogue produced by the International Youth Library in Germany. Published by Magabala Books in Broome, WA, Bakir and Bi went on to be displayed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy, 2014.
In March 2021, Jillian published the sequel to Bakir and Bi, Bid Buai (Dolphin People) with Balboa Press, a self-publishing arm of Hay House.
Jillian’s insights and narratives of all that pertains to life is expressed through her moving poetry, that breathes from a deep place of self-discovery. Her poetry come highly commended by Judges of the 2018 Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize, published in Overland Journal Magazine October 2018, and Borderless Transnational Feminist Australian Anthology.
A wife, mother, grandmother, mentor, and businesswoman, Jillian commits her craft and experiences to invest into empowering First Nation peoples of Australia.
Samantha is a Torres Strait Islander (Badu and Moa Islands) and Aboriginal (Wuthathi/Yadhaigana) woman. She is the author of Life Blong Ali Drummond and editor of Pamle: Torres Strait Islanders in Canberra. She has poetry and short stories published nationally and internationally and is the Treasurer, First Nations Australia Writers Network and Us Mob Writing Group. She is currently editing Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia, due for publication by Black Inc. in 2024.