Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 11, 2012

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2012


Thanks to everyone who participated in Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers – I hope you found it rewarding!

You are still welcome to share your reviews: Please use the Mr Linky below. Click on it, and enter your name and the URL where your review is posted (your blog, your GoodReads or Library Thing account. (Please do not add Amazon consumer reviews because they generate intrusive Amazon ads).  After that, please add a comment here as well,  which will alert me that you’ve added to the Mr Linky list.

I will continue to gather these links to generate a list which will be added to on this page.

If you don’t have a blog or a GoodReads/Library Thing account, then please tell us about the book you read in the comments section.

PS I’ll be monitoring this page up to the end of July.

PPS It’s ok to add your review/s early! (I have, to show you how it’s done, I’ve added three books that I read from the time I announced this Lit Week.)

Reviews (in alphabetical order by the title of the book)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright (John, at Musings of a Literary Dilettante), see also Sue’s thoughts at Whispering Gums

Doctor Wooreddy’s Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World, by Mudrooroo a.k.a. Colin Johnson (Karenlee Thompson), see also Lisa’s review

Don’t Take Your Love to Town, by Ruby Langford Ginibi (Deane, at Pykk)

Double Native by Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

Fight for Liberty and Freedom:  The origins of Australian Aboriginal activism by John Maynard (Yvonne Perkins, Stumbling through the Past).

Fog a Dox by Bruce Pascoe (Lisa Hill, LisaHillSchoolStuff)

Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson (Emma from My Book Corner

Legacy by Larissa Behrendt (Tony from Tony’s Reading List)

Maybe Tomorrow, by Boori Monty Pryor (Emma from My Book Corner)

My Bundjalung People by Ruby Langord Ginibi (Yvonne Perkins, Stumbling through the Past).

My Home Broome, by Tamzyne Richardson and Bronwyn Houston (Lisa Hill, LisaHillSchoolStuff)

PEN MAcquarie Anthology of Aboriginal Literature edited by Anita Heiss and Peter Minter (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

Plains of Promise by Alexis Wright (Marilyn from Me, You and Books)

Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane (Sue from Whispering Gums), see also Lisa’s review

Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch (Janine, from The Resident Judge of Port Phillip)

That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott (Marg from The Intrepid Reader)

True North, by Kim Scott (Narelle, from the ANZ LitLovers online book group, see comments below)

Maori Authors

Baby No-Eyes (Talanoa) by Patricia Grace (Jenny Snell)

The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Sarah, A Rat in the Book Pile)

Bulibasha by Wiki Ihimaera (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

Dogside Story by Patricia Grace (Sharkell, at Library Thing)

Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff (Tony from Tony’s Reading List)

Potiki by Patricia Grace (Stu, from Winston’s Dad)

The Rope of Man, by Wiki Ihimaera (Tony from Tony’s Reading List. NB This is a V-review of various NZ titles, which includes Tony’s review of The Rope of Man)

Samoan authors

Sons for the Return Home by Albert Wendt (Helen Baker from NZ at Library Thing)


Riding the Black Cockatoo by John Danalis (Julie, at Angler’s Rest).  Danalis is not an indigenous author, but this is a very special book with a foreword by Boori Monty Pryor, and I am grateful to Julie for bringing it to our attention.  As the blurb at Allen and Unwin says, it’s the ‘ inspiring true story of one man’s reconciliation journey. All through his growing-up years, John Danalis’s family had an Aboriginal skull on the mantelpiece; yet only as an adult did he ask where it came from and whether it should be restored to its rightful owners’.  Julie, I’ve just reserved it at the library, thanks to your excellent review.


  1. will do I got the grace ready had hope to find something else but nothing else has turned up yet ,all the best stu


  2. My review of Plains of Promise, by Alexis Wright is on my blog and entered into Mr.Linky.


    • Thanks, Marilyn, Plains of Promise is one I really want to read too.


      • I look forward to your review of Plains of Promise. Did it receive any acclaim in Australia when it was published? I enjoyed it much more than I expected given that I’d heard so little about it.


        • It’s hard to tell now, Marilyn. Because it was published in 1997 before the internet really got going, it’s not possible to find press reviews of it from the time. Hopefully this Indigenous Literature Week (and reviews like yours) will encourage more interest now.


  3. Lisa, I’ve started Benang and finding it so overwhelmingly powerful I have put it aside for a bit… too much to digest… too unsettling/uncomfortable… but hope to have it finished by first week of July.


    • Come back when you’re ready. KIm, some books just have to be read at the right time for the individual reader.


  4. I have entered my thoughts into Mr Linky for ‘Baby No Eyes’ by Patricia Grace.


    • Hi Jenny, Baby No-Eyes sounds like a rather challenging book by the look of your review at LibraryThing (and others there as well). On GoodReads it says that it’s a book that ‘merges recent headlines’ – do you know what that’s about?


  5. Pleased to see the list building here Lisa. I think I’m going to need to put aside a big chunk of time to get around to reading them all. Exciting stuff!


  6. I’ve just posted my review on John Maynard’s, Fight for Liberty and Freedom: The origins of Australian Aboriginal activism.


    • Thanks, Yvonne, Maynard’s book sounds like a must-read, and I agree with your comment about how important it is that we read history written by indigenous people themselves.


  7. I’ve just entered my review of Dogside Story by Patricia Grace. Thanks for organising this – what a great way to profile Indigenous literature.


    • Thanks for contributing, this sounds like another one by Patricia Grace to add to my TBR, she is such an interesting author!


  8. I have reviewed The Bone People by Keri Hulme. An puzzling read. Wonder if I missed the point…?


    • Thanks for contributing, Sarah.The Bone People is a novel of great prestige, but it is both confronting and challenging to read. If I weren’t lost in the mists of Andrei Bely’s Petersburg at the moment, I’d be considering re-reading it to see how it stands up to a second reading.


  9. I have just finished reading indigenous writer Kim Scott’s first novel, ‘True Country’, which is set in an aboriginal mission settlement in the top end of W.A. Scott gave the book several narrative voices, including that of one of its central characters, Billy, a teacher with some aboriginal heritage, who arrives with his wife and several other white members of staff to take over the running of the small school. The new teachers struggle to cross the cultural divide between themselves and their pupils, attempting to integrate themselves into their new surroundings whilst coping with the overwhelming heat and a disintegrating community where alcoholism, wife-beating, petrol-sniffing and indifference are the norm. Billy himself at first attempts to make a positive contribution to the lives of the native people when he agrees to transcribe the life story of Fatima, the oldest surviving inhabitant, who suffered forced removal from her family, the loss of her language, and the murder of her elders. But the social injustice meted out to the aboriginals is later reinforced when a boy from the settlement is beaten to death in Broome by white thugs, who unbelievably escape punishment by the system of white law. Scott offers no real solution to the many problems these people live with, however, through his experiences in the bush hunting and fishing, both with the natives and alone, Billy comes to feel a kind of connection with the land. The book opens with an invitation to the reader from an unnamed aboriginal voice to enter the life of the settlement through the stories of its characters, and closes with the same unnamed voice offering to let you, the reader, decide for yourself what message this country holds for us.
    I found some of the scenes involving the killing of animals a bit hard for my city-dwelling sensitivities and, with all the western-style names, I got a bit muddled at times in remembering who was aboriginal and who wasn’t. But Scott’s writing is often poetically beautiful and overall this was an engrossing read.


    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Narelle:) I think this was Kim Scott’s first book so it’s interesting to hear about his early work. I have it on my TBR and hope to get to it before long.


  10. I’ve added my review of Maybe Tomorrow by Boori Monty Pryor


    • Thank you Emma! I’ve read Shake a Leg to my students, who loved it, so I’m keen to read this one too. Thanks for contributing:)


  11. I’ve said a few words about a chapter from Ruby Langford Ginibi’s Don’t Take Your Love to Town.


  12. Grace Beside Me, Sue McPherson a new YA novel. Loved it!


    • Thanks, Emma, I think that’s the first YA book reviewed so it’s a handy contribution.




  14. I’ve read ‘Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ and ‘My Bundjalung People’ both written by Ruby Langford Ginibi. I’ve written a review of ‘My Bundjalung People’ on my blog. Great books!


    • Thanks again for your contribution, Yvonne. That link to the tribute in the Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia is very special, isn’t it?


      • Yes, I’m still working my way through the articles. I feel rather embarrassed that Ruby Langford Ginibi is so famous for her writing world-wide and I only found out about her a couple of weeks ago from one of the readers on my blog. However, that is the wonderful educative contribution that the internet enables. How ignorant I would be without it.


        • Well, we’re doing our little bit to spread the word!


  15. […] read this as part of Indigenous Literature Week 2012, hosted here by Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers.  Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern […]


  16. Somewhat tardily, I read and reviewed Tara June Winch’s book ‘Swallow the Air’. I know that it has been included on Year 12 reading lists, but I did not particularly read it as YA (whatever that means!)


  17. Thanks, Janine, I think this is an excellent book, for Year 12 and adults too:) Thanks for contributing, any time is a good time!


  18. Link as requested, for the list of must read children’s book by some awesome Aboriginal authors and illustrators. Enjoy!


  19. Hi Lisa, my week didn’t go quite as planned but I have today finished Albert Wendt’s Sons for the Return Home and added my review. A very thought provoking read. I am pleased to see someone else has chosen to read and review Potiki by Patricia Grace.


    • Thank you for your contribution, Helen – it’s great to have a review from a Samoan author.


  20. […] over time.   I would encourage anyone who in the future reads and reviews indigenous writing to contact me using the Mr Linky button and comments box on the reviews page – and I’ll add your contribution to this […]


  21. […] ANZ LitLovers hosted Indigenous Literature Week  July 1-8, 2012 To  find out more about it, click here. To see reviews of indigenous literature from participants or to add to the database of reviews, click here. […]


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