Two women – Different careers – Both trailblazers

Sonja Stewart

Sonja Stewart is a proud Indigenous Yuin woman who has been appointed by the Law Society of NSW to represent 35,000 solicitors around the state.

Past roles have included NSW Deputy Secretary within the Department of Premier and Cabinet and extensive experience within the legal profession, academia, and the not-for-profit sector.

Sonja has worked for many years with a commitment and a belief in a just and accessible legal system for all. ‘She brings to the position a wealth of experience in leading policy and regulatory programs, well-honed strategic and stakeholder management skills and a deep knowledge of the regulatory framework which underpins that legal system’ says Law Society President Richard Harvey whose organisation appointed Sonja the CEO after an extensive search.

Sonja is currently the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Amila Consulting, and a Director of the GO Foundation which focuses on improving educational outcomes for indigenous youth.

Our congratulations go to Sonja. We wish her well in this new position.

Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch is a young indigenous author of the Wiradjuri nation within the Wollongong region of NSW.

Tara was recently announced the winner of this year’s Miles Franklin award, the most prestigious award given to an Australian author. In the past year she has also been awarded the Stella Prize for fiction, People’ s Choice Award (NSW) and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award.

The Yield is only Tara’s third novel, the other two being Swallow the Air (2006) which won several literary awards, followed by a book of short stories After the Carnage(2016).

Tara won this award ahead of several highly esteemed and recognised authors, including Margaret Attwood and Tony Birch. Tara is described frequently as an emerging author but in winning the Miles Franklin we can now rename her as an author who has truly arrived.

Tara has spoken about the need for more Indigenous editors but also translators in major publishing houses to help draw out the stories of those for whom English is a second language. ‘There are so many stories yet to be told’ she has said.

Tara’s book is set in NSW where her people have always lived.  This novel is a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, story-telling and identity.

Tara now maintains she is able to devote more time to her writing as her daughter is a teenager, and I suspect we will see much more of this young Indigenous writer in the years ahead.

Congratulations Tara on achieving such an esteemed prize.

– Annie Young

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