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Stephen Hagan is a descendant of the Kullilli people of south west Queensland. His early years were spent living in a fringe camp on the outskirts of Cunnamulla until his achievements in high school took him to a Brisbane boarding school. In between a posting overseas as a diplomatic attaché and business ventures, he worked as a bureaucrat in education and Aboriginal Affairs. A social commentator on race relations, Stephen received a Deadly Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Literature in 2005 and the following year he was named NAIDOC Aboriginal Person of the Year.