Melissa Lucashenko

Print/Text Feature Writing Long (over 4000 words)

Griffith Review

Melissa Lucashenko won the 2013 Walkley for Long Feature Writing for her Griffith REVIEW piece “Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan”. The report dealt with urban poverty and the day to day struggles of three mothers living in the area known as the “Black Belt”.

Melissa is an award-winning novelist who lives between Brisbane and the Bundjalung nation. Her writing explores the stories and passions of ordinary Australians with particular reference to Aboriginal people and others living around the margins of the First World. Melissa’s most recent book is Mullumbimby, a contemporary novel of romantic love and cultural warfare set in a northern NSW valley.

Melissa is a founding member of Sisters Inside, a groundbreaking organization that supports criminalized women in Queensland. She is a member of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, and is currently working on a novel of historical Queensland, as well as on a screenplay. Her website is

Melissa’s Winning Work:

Sinking below sight: Down and out in Brisbane and Logan

Feature Writing Long award sponsored by

“Sinking below sight” is a beautifully crafted work on what it means to be the very poorest urban Australian. Through the stories of three indigenous mothers – and Melissa Lucashenko’s own life – the reader is given a unique insight in to living in grinding poverty, whilst the rest of Australia chooses to look away. The end result is a compelling story that shines a light on us all. – Judges’ comments