Announcing the winners of the 2022 Naomi Williams Wiradjuri Poetry Prize

Last Updated on 04/08/2022 by National Justice Project

“The winning poems for 2022 are about things Naomi was so passionate about: Yindyamarra (respect) for family, Mob, each other, listening to our Elders and working together for a better future for all of us. She would be so proud.” – Sharon Williams, Naomi Williams’ mother


The Naomi Williams Wiradjuri Poetry Prize is in honour of Naomi Williams, a strong, proud Wiradjuri woman who loved writing poetry about the Tumut River, her family and elements of love that she treasured.

This year, the judges were particularly impressed with the number and quality of the poems submitted for the Kids category, which spoke most strongly to the theme of Respect, Recognition and Reconciliation. Therefore, the judges decided to select the three prize winners from this category. Unfortunately, there will be no prizes awarded to the Adult and Youth categories this year.

The Kids category was open to writers under 12 living or learning on Wiradjuri Country.

Congratulations to the winners

The poetry prize judges – Aunty Cheryl Penrith, Aunty Anita Heiss, Amy Williams and George Newhouse – have selected the following young writers as the winners:

Bailey, Katara and Skye have been awarded $100 and a $50 book voucher each.

Wiradjuri author, Dr Anita Heiss, who was a judge for this year’s prize, said the winning poems capture the children’s connection to, and respect for, Wiradjuri Country.

“Naomi loved to write poetry about the Tumut River. Poetry is a special way for children to connect with Wiradjuri ngurambang (Country) because it allows them the creative process to weave their emotions and use their senses to write about how the landscape, the river, the land makes them feel at home,” Anita said.

“Ngurambang and yindyamarra (respect) were very strong themes in our winning entries this year, demonstrating that love for place can be felt at a young age.”

A message for young writers

Naomi’s mother and proud Wiradjuri woman Sharon Williams thanked the children who entered this year and encouraged children living and learning on Wiradjuri Country to submit a poem in next year’s prize.

“I would like to thank all of the children who participated this year and encourage them to continue writing and sharing their stories,” Sharon said.  

“Our young ones are our future and I see this prize as a way of truth-telling and a way to share respectfully with the whole community.”

The proud sponsors of the 2022 Naomi Williams Wiradjuri Poetry Prize were:

  • The Kilby/Penrith Family
  • Aunty Caroline Hughes
  • The Heiss Family
  • The Bond-Williams Family
  • National Justice Project

Judges for this year’s prize were proud Wiradjuri woman and aunty to Naomi, Aunty Cheryl Penrith; proud Wiradjuri women and loving cousins to Naomi, Amy Williams and Anita Heiss; and CEO of the National Justice Project George Newhouse.

For more information on the Naomi Williams Wiradjuri Poetry Prize 2022, the community can contact poetry@justice.org.au or the National Justice Project office at (02) 9514 4440.