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We are thrilled to share our March Member Spotlight features Sasha Kutabah Sarago! Sasha is a writer, filmmaker and speaker, and has now had her debut memoir Gigorou: It’s time to reclaim beauty. First Nations wisdom and womanhood published by Pantera Press.
Sasha Kutabah Sarago is a Wadjanbarra Yidinji, Jirrbal and African-American writer, filmmaker and speaker. Her debut memoir Gigorou: It’s time to reclaim beauty. First Nations wisdom and womanhood was published by Pantera Press (2023). Sasha’s TEDx talk ‘The (De)colonising of Beauty’ was selected as TED.com 2021 Editor’s Choice. Sasha has also written and directed documentaries Too Pretty to Be Aboriginal and InsideOUT.
What inspired you to begin writing?
I’ve always loved to write since primary school. My library card was a passport to other dimensions through characters and storylines. I was inspired to write in Grade 3 when my class had to write a story that would be published. Holding my book about dinosaurs in my hand made writing real to me.
What does it mean to you to be publishing your first book, Gigorou? What has the publishing process been like for you?
It’s the most incredible feeling to pour your heart and soul into 26 chapters for the world to read. I’m new to the literary scene, so it’s been an exciting rollercoaster learning about the industry whilst maintaining confidence in my writing and pushing the boundaries when confronting issues I’ve shied away from in the past. Balancing the creative and strategic elements of writing and promoting a book has also been a challenge. Did I mention being highly emotional to the point of frustration, tears to fits of joy?
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your writing career?
Just start writing. Don’t compare yourself to other authors. Write for you without any expectations.
Which Australian authors/illustrators have been influential for you?
Chelsea Watego, Alexis Wright, Tara June-Winch, Kirli Saunders and Larissa Behrendt.
Why do you think it’s important to be a member of the ASA?
As a first-time author ASA membership has been crucial in assisting me in understanding and negotiating contracts, what to expect in the publishing landscape, how to protect and refine my craft, build networks amongst other writers and the resources to refer to at different stages of my writing career.
Find out more about Sasha Kutabah Sarago at www.panterapress.com.au