A Barkindji man, born by the Darling River in Bourke, far north-west New South Wales, Paul is an emerging writer and poet, who works at the University of Canberra, teaching creative writing. Paul holds a PhD in cultural theory and creative writing. Dancing Home, his first novel, won the national 2016 David Unaipon Award for a previously unpublished Indigenous writer and was published by University of Queensland Press in 2017.
'Stories and storytellers are, and have always been, in my life. I listened to old people tell me stories when I was a kid growing up in Bourke. Blackfullas are still telling each other and all other people stories all the time I suffer badly being away from my ‘country’. And, Canberra? Strange place, man. But ‘the Can’ is a good place to write. I use to move around town – coffee shops, bars, wherever there’s internet really – and I’d sit by a window with a coffee, beer, or glass of wine, and get into the thoughts around the writing. So, the Can’s been good to me. Love the seasons, colours and anonymity too.
Archie Knight and other blak authors lit a fire in my mind a long time ago about blak representations by blak people. It’s so important to speak up, to write up and to reach out to others in and with your art, no matter what you are – visual artist, performer, hip-hopper, writer – it’s all important, man.'
Paul Collis, extract from profile in Bite, 2 August 2017