The Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award was presented by the Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, Joy Burch MLA, to Paul Collis.
Paul Collis is a Barkindji person from Bourke, on the Darling River in north-west New South Wales. His novel Dancing Home (University of Queensland Press, 2017) won both the David Unaipon Award and the ACT Book of the Year Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of Canberra, where he earned a PhD in Communications and was the winner of the Herbert Burton Medal, its most prestigious award.
As well as publishing fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, Paul is a lead researcher on the Story Ground project, which finds ways of bringing together the living practices of Indigenous story and the teaching of creative writing in universities and schools. His work as a mentor and creative leader reaches across communities, inspiring individuals and provoking institutions to more creative and inclusive ways of being.
Paul’s life’s work mirrors the philosophy of the Peace Run – that change comes from within, and we each have a unique role to play in fostering a better world. Even Paul’s email address – “paulforpeace” – speaks to the purpose and goal of his aspiration. Paul sees and feels a more noble, truer, purer, wider and more sympathetic humanity. With humility and dignity, Paul speaks from the heart and to the heart, inspiring all he meets in person and through his writing and teaching, to be true to ourselves and thus step by step, brings closer our dream of a world united in peace.