Kate Challis RAKA Award

This award, worth up to $20,000, is for the best book of poems already published and written in English, or a musical composition, by an Indigenous author or musician.

Application dates

Applications are currently closed

Application type

Application required
How to apply

Benefit type

Single payment
Full benefit details

Citizenship requirements

Australian / domestic student

Total value

up to $20,000

Applicable study areas

Performing and visual arts, theatre, film and television

Number of scholarships awarded


  • Alexis Wright
    "As an Aboriginal author, I understand the enormous importance and influence of the Kate Challis (RAKA) Award. I believe it is the most prestigious national and international benchmark for the promotion of excellence in Aboriginal art. This is the reason that I feel both extremely humble and proud that my work was chosen this year for literature, and to know that my work can stand beside those of our most talented and highly recognised artists."
    - Alexis Wright
  • Eligibility & selection criteria


    To be eligible for this scholarship, you need to:

    • be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander screenwriter
    • have had your screenplay produced between January 2014 and January 2019

      The recipient is required to:

    • Accept award online within 14 days
    • Attend the award announcement
  • Application process

    Submit your application online and upload the following documents to support your application:

    1. Curriculum vitae
    2. The script
    3. Link and password (if required) to the produced work, or supply as digital file
    4. Three high resolution film stills
  • When will I know the outcome?

    The shortlist will be announced in early August 2019.

    The winner will be announced at the Australian Centre and Faculty of Arts Literary Awards event at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Saturday 7 September 2019.

  • Variations of this scholarship

    The prize is awarded in a five-year cycle with a different area of the arts – creative prose, drama, the visual arts, script-writing and poetry – being rewarded each year. Area of creative arts for 2020 is: the best book of poems already published and written in English, or a musical composition.

  • About the donor

    Professor Emeritius Bernard Smith

    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, script writers, visual artists and playwrights – whose 'hands' are the basic means of creativity.

What are the benefits?

A single payment of up to $20,000



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The information listed here is subject to change without notice. Where we have listed information about jointly run scholarships programs, please also see our partners' websites. Information describing the number and value of scholarships awarded is indicative.