Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 17, 2015

Reminder: 2015 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers, starts August 28th!

ilw 2015This is just a quick reminder that Indigenous Literature Week starts at ANZ LitLovers, on August 28th, coinciding with the First Nations Australia Writers’ Network Workshop, which is being held in Melbourne in the last weekend of August.

This is a week to celebrate all forms of Indigenous Writing, and I hope that many of my readers will join in and read a book by an Indigenous author.

If you would like to participate,  your choice of indigenous literature isn’t restricted just to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori literature.   Participants are welcome to join in reading indigenous literature from anywhere in the world, from Canada to Guyana, from Native American to Basque to Pashtun or Ixcatec. (For a list of indigenous people of the world, see this list at Wikipedia.) As to how we define indigenous, that’s up to indigenous people themselves.  If they identify as indigenous, well, that’s good enough for me.

Thanks to all those who joined in last year and have encouraged me to host the week again.


  •  I’m not using Mr Linky for sign-ups this year: if you’d like to participate simply do so in comments below.  Please include your name, and the name and URL of your blog or Goodreads or Library Thing page where you are going to put your review of the book.   If you don’t have a blog or one of these accounts, just use the comments box on the Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers 2015.  If you would like to write a guest review of your book for ANZLL I will happily host it here too.
  • Tell us what you think you might read in the comments box.  You never know, you might encourage someone else to try the book too! (You can always change your mind later if you want to).
  • When you’ve finished the book, come back and comment on the Reviews from Indigenous Literature page and then I’ll add it to the  reading list.

Thanks to contributions from a fantastic bunch of participants in previous ILWs the reading list is growingFor reasons of space and time and personal preference  my reading list is limited to literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and New Zealand authors but participants are free to choose any form you like – short story, memoir, biography, whatever takes your fancy!  The permanent link to my reading list (and to other sources) is on the ANZLL Books You Must Read page in the top menu, and you can also find it in the list of Pages near the bottom of the RH Menu.

What will I be reading? Well, I have some vintage titles on the TBR and some new ones to choose from as well:

Indigenous Australian authors

  • Old Man’s Story by Kakadu Elder Bill Neidje as told to Mark Lang, Aboriginal Studies Press2015 ISBN: 9781922059949
  • True Country, Kim Scott’s first novel, Fremantle Press, 2010, ISBN 9781921361524
  • There’ll Be New Dreams, by Philip McLaren, Magabala Books, 2001, ISBN: 9781875641765
  • Earth by Bruce Pascoe, Magabala Books, 2001, ISBN: 9781875641611
  • Maybe Tomorrow by Boori Monty Prior, with Meme McDonald, Penguin, 1998, ISBN: 9780140273977

Maori Authors

  • For Someone I Love, a Collection of Writing by Arapera Blank, Anton Blank, New Zealand 2015 ISBN: 9780473299187
  • Cousins, by Patricia Grace, Penguin, 1991, ISBN: 9780140168082
  • Tu, by Patricia Grace, Penguin, 2004, ISBN: 9780143019206
  • What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, by Alan Duff, Random House, 1996 ISBN: 9780091834203


Now, (sneakily putting this at the bottom of this post to see if you’re paying attention!) I have a lovely little book of poetry called Crimson, by Maori poet Marino Blank to give away to the first Aussie or Kiwi participant to sign up.  (Limited to Australian and New Zealand postcodes only, sorry).  It’s a lovely hardback edition with gorgeous endpapers, published by Marino’s brother Anton Blank, and the poems are stunning.



  1. Just putting myself in for the poetry book!

    • You’ve got it! Check your email (and maybe your junkmail folder) for a message from ANZ LitLovers

  2. Nice going, Lisa, thanks. I’ll try to get something I’ve not read from one of my wish lists. Might be Native American or Indigenous Aussie – don’t know yet. My current challenge is to get the Booker long list read before the short list comes out in mid-Sept (so I can guess intelligently) but that’s coming along nicely, so…

    • Wonderful! Whichever you choose, I look forward to your review.
      (The whole Booker longlist – wow!)

  3. I am going to re-read my school days copy of I The Aboriginal. On a quick scan I can’t find any critiques of it but I’ll research some more over the next couple of weeks and write a review

  4. I’m going to read Kim Scott’s story in the new Review of Australian Fiction (good suggestion!) My blog is at

    • Thanks, Jane, I look forward to seeing this, Kim Scott is one of my favourite authors.

  5. I am going to do an earlier Review of Australian Fiction with stories by Tony Birch, whom I haven’t yet read, and Ellen van Neerven, whom I have! (The blog I will post it to is of course linked to my name on this comment!)

    • Excellent, you are one of my most loyal supporters of this week so I am very glad you are on board this year too:)

  6. Hello fellow readers,
    I look forward to participating in the 2015 Indigenous Literature Week initiative. I’m considering reading the new middle grade novel Sister Heart by Sally Morgan, the young adult novels Becoming Kirrali Lewis by Jane Harrison and Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas, or the novels Legacy by Larissa Behrendt.and Butterfly Song by Terri Janke.

    • Great choices: I think that Butterfly Song was the first novel I ever read by an indigenous author, but it was long before I started this blog so I don’t have a review of it.

  7. Hi Lisa. I’ll be reading Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light, and Tony Birch’s Blood. Looking forward to participating for the first time!

    • Welcome, it’s lovely to have you:)
      You’ve made good choices, I think!

  8. I was having a hard time finding something I hadn’t read that was available in the US and on Kindle. So I got a book by Louise Erdrich that I hadn’t read – The Game of Silence – concerns an Ojibwa family when they find out and experience white people for the first time – 1860s? – This is in northern Minnesota by Lake Superior, an area I know well.

    Then I discovered Cousins is available and I might have time for that too. We’ll see.

    • That sounds fantastic, Becky, I’ve often wanted to read something like that, to purge from my memory all those ‘cowboys-and-Indians’ shows that I saw on TV as a child.
      Yes, I can still hum it
      “Davee, Davee Crockett, king of the wild frontier”

      • Oh don’t purge that Lisa … it’s part of our childhood! We just need to put it in the right box – the innocent childhood past box! Still, I’m often embarrassed about how little we (I) questioned.

        • It is a part of our ‘innocent’ childhoods. And I imagine you guys, like me, discussed these things with your children – I was ferocious about guns – in ways that our parents would barely understand.

          • Oh, I wasn’t really thinking of the guns, I guess that means I’m a bit too used to the idea that Americans so often seem to think you can solve all problems with force. I was thinking more of the way the white guys always won and were bringing civilisation, and the Indians (not even given the respect of their own names for themselves) were always depicted as savages.

          • You mean about no toy guns? Yes, so was I. Our kids were under no illusions as to my attitude on guns and violence. I thought we could forge and kinder, better world. How naive I was!!

            • The gun lobby is behind a LOT of propaganda, too, so that most gun owners have become extremely sensitive and opposed to anything that might even suggest a future modification of their “rights.” (Worse than the tobacco lobby ever was – worse than the climate-deniers who use associated product lobbies.)

              I raised my kids with “no toy guns” and as adults they have the same general attitudes (except for hunting which truly is important in some rural areas but those aren’t the areas where there is much shooting of people. heh.)

              “Little House on the Prairie” is a series of old US children’s books about a pioneer family – maybe for 4th graders. It’s a fictionalized memoir about the settlement of Minnesota and Iowa and Wisconsin.

              Wilder presents this part of US history as being the idyllic and basically peaceful settlement of the prairie/plains with self-sufficient people and strong family values, etc. I loved them as a kid. The TV show was kind of stupid, imo, but I watched for years – that and Bonanza. lol

              When I was about 12 I realized (from a great teacher) that the pacification of the indians in Minnesota was not always such a smooth little road. Massacres were when the indians won, battles were when the whites did, etc. –

              I found out a bit more about “Little House on the Prairie” and it’s author when I was an adult – that was kind of a shock. (Her father was involved in some indian battles.)

              I’m currently reading “The Game of Silence” by Louise Erdrich for the Indigenous Challenge. One of the reasons it was written was to correct some of the misconceptions in children’s lit – particularly those in Little House on the Prairie. That said, it’s remarkable in its own right. It takes place a bit earlier and further north, in the area from which Erdrich’s mother’s family came from – (removed to North Dakota).

              This book shows the breaking of treaties, the plight of the natives and the response of the natives as well as a lot apparently well researched information about the community-orientedand basically peaceful lives of the natives near Lake Superior in the mid-19th century.

              Of course the reality is somewhere (lots of somewheres) in the middle – neither side was totally innocent or peaceful or imbued with “rights” given by any “creator.” “Dancing With Wolves” was as much hog-wash as “Little House on the Prairie” and there was a period of over-generalization in the other direction.

              Sorry for going on and on – it’s a subject near my heart and I get to not knowing when to stop.

  9. Yes, indeed, we didn’t know then about the power of the US gun lobby. Another terrible shooting this week, and another grief stricken family begging for gun reform, to no avail.

  10. […] good blogger friend Lisa is to blame for the second book this weekend she is running her Indigenous week on her Anzlitlovers blog again .I picked this classic of African fiction Lemona’s tale by Ken […]

  11. Becky, please do not apologise! You are welcome to share your opinions here, and I feel your passion.
    The Little House on the Prairie was on TV here too, and so was Bonanza, which my mother watched avidly. It makes you wonder about the attitudes shaped by these shows, and whether that was intentionally done or just that the authors/producers believed the message they were sending themselves. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for the indigenous people to be confronted by these programmes, even if they didn’t watch them they must have been an inescapable part of popular culture which still lingers in many minds.
    We have a lot to answer for in our treatment of indigenous people here, but at least we didn’t have celebratory TV shows weekly that sanitised the dispossession of the people. There’s no virtue in that, of course. After all, we had your shows instead, sending the same message even if the people were different.

    • My review of The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich:

      • Thanks, Becky, and well done, you are first cab off the rank! I will add the book and your review to my review page now.
        BTW I have commented on your blog, but #NoThanksTo Akismet my comment is probably in your spam folder. Please unspam it if you can!

        • I got some kind of ping-back or link which I approved but there was no message. Then I replied. lol – we’ll see.

          • It will be in your spam folder in the admin/comments part of your blog. To release it you will have to mark it not spam…

            • Done – thanks!

              • yay, I’m free! (On your blog, that is.)

  12. […] References: If you haven’t come to this post from ANZ Lit Lovers’ Indigenous Literature Week then this is the place to start. […]

  13. I’ve reviewed I, the Aboriginal by Douglas Lockwood

  14. Hello Blog Readers,
    I wanted to share my thoughts on a book I read for Indigenous Literature Week. I read the middle-grade novel-in-verse entitled Sister Heart by Aboriginal author and illustrator, Sally Morgan. Morgan tells the story of a young Australian Aboriginal girl who is removed from her family by the government and placed into an institution for aboriginal children. Like most children of the “Stolen Generation” the protagonist is stripped of her family name, language, history, and culture. She is given the European name Annie shortly before her transition into institutional life. Readers of Morgan’s novel are able to experience Annie’s struggles with removal from her ancestral land and people, travel over sea to foreign land and people, transition into institution life (learning English, work routines, health problems), forging new friendships, and experiencing the death of a loved one.

    What I appreciate about the story is Morgan’s ability to convey the protagonist’s feelings of displacement, alienation, and will to survive with great sensitivity. I also appreciate Morgan’s engaging approach to ancestral culture and lineage and the history of the Stolen Generation without it seeming didactic. I recommend Sister Heart for adults to read. This novel reminds me of Anita Heiss’ middle-grade novel, Who Am I? The Diary Of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937. Heiss and Morgan are making a significant contribution to children’s literature.

    • This sounds like a wonderful choice, and as you say, a book of interest to adults as well as YA readers. Sally Morgan was the first indigenous author I ever read, and I think she has a special place in many hearts because of the story that she told in My Place.
      I have added your review to the 2015 reviews page and the master Indigenous Literature Reading List – it all adds to the resource being gradually built up here so thank you for your contribution and I’m glad you found it worthwhile.

      • In the United States, the late children’s book author Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers wrote an opinion editorial which was featured in the New York Times newspaper about the issue of limited coverage in children’s literature. Mr. Myers and Christopher asserted that there is not a lot of stories, drama, nonfiction, poetry that centralize the lives of children of color. Moreover, there are not a lot of authors of color being published. Due to Mr. Myers and Christopher’s efforts to address the exclusion of multicultural children’s books and authors within the publishing industry, the WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS campaign was launched.

        Now, there are independent and some major publishing companies who are currently establishing panel discussions, publishing internships, and creative writing grants and awards for emerging writers of color to help address this issue. I’m happy Lisa that you are also spearheading initiatives such as Indigenous Literature Week through ANZ LitLovers Blog to bring exposure to the great works of literature and writers of color from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

        I’ll be curious to know from you Lisa as well as other ANZ LitLovers Blog readers if there are other initiatives that are being taken to promote literature being produced by writers of color. It would be good to spearhead a monthly celebration of literature produced specifically by international women writers from Australia, Canada, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the United States. There are women writers who have produced major works of literature but have fallen into obscurity or not widely known. Despite the strides that academia, literary organizations, and publishing companies have made to support the work of women writers, there are emerging and aspiring ethnic women writers who can benefit from a platform such as ANZ LitLovers.

        • Well, while I’m aware of various independent bloggers like me who seek to encourage diversity of all kinds, I can’t say that I know about any specific initiatives – though that doesn’t mean there aren’t any…
          I’ll get in touch with the Australian Society of Authors and see if they can enlighten me.

  15. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Books is celebrating Indigenous Book club Month in June with several lists of recommended books by Canadian First Peoples. They consistently discuss books by very diverse authors. I recommend them highly.

    I will be reading and reviewing Celia’s Song and Birdie for Lisa’s Challenge, both of them Canadian.

    • That’s CBC initiative sounds fantastic. I wish our ABC would do something similar.
      I look forward to hearing about those books, thanks for joining in again.

      • I wish someone in the USA would do something,too. Here is the link for the CBC site.

        Sorry to be slow providing it.

        • Thanks, that’s great:)

        • Louise Erdrich has a new one out – LaRose. It takes place on her good old Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota where a man accidentally shoots his neighbor’s son while he’s out hunting.
          I’ve started it but … I don’t know how closely related it is to her other books which are set up there. This is on the Canadian border of ND. I can get to this book next I suppose – :-)

  16. […] see smaxine27’s review […]

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