By Oliver Lees
An author in the Macedon Ranges has received a prestigious grant that will help fly her north to write the first ever memoir of a Torres Strait Islander man to be commercially published.
Michelle Scott Tucker was announced last month as a recipient of the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund, which has been helping Australian authors travel to develop their work since it was launched in 2017.
Scott Tucker said she was “super proud” to be named for the award, which includes notable past recipients such as multi-award winning author Bruce Pascoe.
“It’s such a thrill, there are some fantastic names on the list and so I feel very privileged,” Scott Tucker said.
“It’s a fantastic award, my grateful thanks to Writers Victoria for the acknowledgement.”
Scott Tucker will be ghostwriting the memoirs of actor and remote community health worker, Aaron Fa’Aoso.
As well as hosting Australia’s first Torres Strait cooking show, Strait to the Plate, Fa’Aoso has also played rugby professionally and is a four-time Male Actor of the Year nominee at the Deadly Awards.
Scott Tucker said Fa’Aoso’s memoir, entitled So Far So Good, will serve as a timely tale of an Indigenous person achieving their goals.
“The narrative is ultimately one of success, it looks at racism, and in these times of Black Lives Matter [protests], it’s very timely,” Scott Tucker said.
“The impacts of intergenerational trauma on his community, the things they went through, is hard to believe. You wish it was another country but it’s this country, and it’s not ancient history.
“It’s easy to forget Torres Strait Islanders, they’re the minority of the minority.
“But Aaron is a successful Torres Strait Islander, and Australia is not used to seeing those.”
Scott Tucker will use the grant funding to visit Fa’Aoso’s ancestral homeland in Cape York, to visit notable locations in his life story and to speak with his immediate family.
“Our interviews last between one and three hours over Zoom, but it’s not the same as meeting in-person,” she said.
“To be able to walk in his country, to hear their local languages and to be able to spend time with him, it’s an immense privilege.”
Scott Tucker has lived in the Macedon Ranges with her family since 2013.
Now a board member of the Macedon Ranges Literary Association, she said she’s enjoyed involving herself in the community.
“I spent my whole life wanting to live in the country,” Scott Tucker said.
“I open my curtains and look at my bedroom window, out over my front paddock, and it makes me really happy.
“Since moving here I’ve been able to find a community of writers and other artists. I’ve told Aaron he must come down to our writer’s festival in the future.”
So Far, So Good will be published by Pantera Press in 2022.
For more information, visit: michellescotttucker.com/