With support from Bendigo Bank to sponsor prizes for the best poetry, short story and artwork, BMCAN worked with RoseyRavelston Books and Publishing to open up a competition for writing around the theme of REGENESIS, to be published in a special anthology as part of the Winter Magic Revival Festival, held on the weekend of 26-28 August.

Inspired by Charles Massey’s 2017 book, Call fo the Reed Warbler, and the work of Australia’s First Nations intellectuals and artists, RE-GENESIS is the telling of a new/ancient story as a way out of our dark and dangerous path of ecological and civilisational collapse. This dark path can be traced back to a foundational story of Western Culture in Genesis, Old Testament, Verse 1.26—the dangerous idea that God made ‘man’ in his own image and gave him dominion over the Earth and all its lifeforms. From this commandment came the idea that only humans have souls/minds, and therefore the ‘right’ to control and exploit ‘brute’ nature for our benefit. 18th century mechanistic materialist science, and the various waves of our techno-industrial revolutions since, have further weaponised our alienation from nature through technological entrancement based on what First Nations’ elder Mary Graham has called ‘extractivist logic’.

REGENISIS counters this with our new/ancient story rooted in the ‘relationist logic’ of Caring for Country embodied in First Nations knowledge systems. This knowledge has been kept alive by the arts in the songlines as a living, breathing presence in the land. This ancient story is now the foundation of the modern story of REGENESIS, informed by the wisdom of total ecological systems awareness in every cell of our being, knowing and praxis in all its multiple meanings and expressions. It is the story, which must now shape our future.

Winners of the competition were Melissa Chambers, with her artwork, Art-i-fact Being that featured on the front cover of the anthology, a work that speaks to cross cultural and spiritual influences and the power of nature to reclaim its territory from the built forms of human culture. Winner of the best short story was Chandu Bickford, with Narrowneck, her homage to Narrow Neck Ridge, which stretches out from Katoomba, making a soaring cliff face that separates the Jamison Valley from the Megalong Valley.  She writes:

My walk with you is a form of worship I was never taught—one that our original people know, but that we have long forgotten.  I am finding my way back to you, across the divides, beyond the constraints and conditioning. I am clumsy and still leaning.  Listening helps us all.

The best poem was won by Alexandrine Monnet, with her poem, Definitions.

Other writers and artists win the anthology were:

Shortlisted: Jaala Hallett, I am your Country; Geoff Matthews, The Ibis; Mary Laws, Hope; Melissa Chamber, Lungs of the Land, Alexandrine Monnet, Jennifer; and Helen Morgan, Releasing the Ego.

Longlisted: Ted Markstein, None So; Madison Roland-Evans, Forty Days; Anneliese Senn, Absence; Kahryn Harton-Roberts, Soulful Sky Part 2; Grant van Wingerden, Regenesis; Heather Moon, Mother Earth; Michelle Exhales, Be part of the whole (after Ayya Khema); Rudi Christen, Resetting the Land; Chandu Bickford, Go Out.


Singer songwriters Ian Neilson and Anthony Mann collaborated to write the song ‘Light a Candle’ in response to the theme of regenesis.  They performed this with their group Antelope at the Winter Magic Community Stage event at the YHA in Katoomba on Saturday evening 27th August.  All around me I heard people say, “They are really good!”.