The Kate Challis (RAKA) Award

21st Mar 2016
24th Jun 2016
Enrolment status
University Trust Record



Area of creative arts for 2016 is : BEST BOOK OF FICTION

Study Area
Australian Indigenous studies


This prize is proudly supported by the Australian Centre.

This award for Indigenous creative artists has been made available through the generosity of Professor Emeritus Bernard Smith, eminent art and cultural historian. The prize was established to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known in her youth as Ruth Adeney (RAKA is an acronym for the Ruth Adeney Koori Award). In the Pintupi language RAKA means 'five' and in the Warlpiri RDAKA means 'hand', and both meanings are particularly apt for a prize to be awarded in a cycle of five years to individual artists - novelists, poets, musicians, painters and playwrights - whose 'hands' are the basic means of creativity.

The $20,000 award is offered annually and is to be applied to encourage Indigenous creative artists to undertake literary works, paintings, sculptures, craftwork, plays and musical compositions and to assist in advancing the recognition of Aboriginal achievements in these areas. It is awarded in a five-year cycle with a different area of the arts - creative prose, drama, the visual arts, scriptwriting and poetry - being rewarded each year.

Visit the Australian Centre website for more information on past winners.

The Australian Centre and The University of Melbourne acknowledges the kind support of the Australian Centre for the Moving Images (ACMI) for hosting the award event this year.




  1. The author must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  2. The prize is to be awarded for the best book of fiction published in the preceding five years and written in English
  3. The book must have been published between January 2011 and January 2016


The recipient is required to:

  • Accept award online within 21 days
  • Write a  letter of appreciation to their donor/committee (Upon acceptance)
  • Attend the Faculty of Arts Literary Awards at Melbourne Writers Festival (24 August - 4 September 2016).

The decision of the Judging Committee is final.


The award winner will be announced at the Faculty of Arts Literary Awards at Melbourne Writers Festival (24 August - 4 September 2016).

Application process

You must submit your application online and upload the following documents to support your application:

  1. Please mail six (6) copies of your publication to:

    Janita Westbury
    Faculty of Arts
    University of Melbourne VIC 3010
  2. Applicants or agents/nominators are required to submit a full statement of up to one page on their current practice and its development over the past five years
  3. Applicants or agents/nominators are required to submit a curriculum vitae of up to one page

Publications and other application material will not be returned.





The amount available for this award is approximate. It will be confirmed at the time of awarding and determined by the committee according to the terms of the award.

The judges' decision will be final and the University reserves the right not to award the prize in the event it is considered that no work of sufficient merit has been submitted. Winning applicants please note the University of Melbourne reserves the right to publish the name of the winning applicant on its websites and other University of Melbourne publications.