Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 26, 2015

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2015


Visit this post – Indigenous Literature Week 2015 at ANZ Litlovers – to sign up if you want to participate in ILW for 2015.

ilw 2015


Thanks to everyone who is participating in 2015 Indigenous Literature Week – I hope that hosting this celebration helps to make more people aware of our indigenous writing!

ILW 2015 this year takes place to coincide with the First Nations Australia Writers’ Network Workshop, which is being held in Melbourne in the last weekend of August.  I will be monitoring this page until the end of September.

You are welcome to add your review/s early.

When you are ready to share your reviews, please use comments below:


  • your name & the name of your blog (if you have one) and
  • the URL where your review is posted (your blog, or your GoodRrads or Library Thing account).

(Please do not add Amazon consumer reviews because they generate intrusive Amazon ads and I don’t care to support Amazon advertising).

If you don’t have a blog or a GoodReads/Library Thing account, then please share what you thought about the book you read in the comments section at the bottom of this post.  Or if you’d like to write a review of greater length, contact me at anzlitloversATbigpondDOTcom about writing a guest review to be hosted on the ANZ LitLovers blog.

I will gather these links to generate a list which will be added under the headings below on this page. I will also add any new titles that crop up to the master Indigenous Reading List.

PS If you haven’t signed up to participate yet, or want to know more about ILW, please click here.

PPS I’ve just discovered this directory of indigenous bloggers, it’s called Deadly Bloggers – and for those of you not up-to-speed with Aboriginal English, no, that doesn’t mean they’re blogging about crime novels, deadly means they’re wonderful, excellent, great!

2015 Reviews (in alphabetical order by author)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors

Tony Birch

Liz Hayden, a Balladong-Willmun/Willman woman of the south west of Western Australia

Sally Morgan from the Palku (or Bailgu) people of the Pilbara

Bill Neidje, an Elder of the Kakadu and the last remaining speaker of the Gaagudju language

Siv Palmer from the Yuwallaraay Aboriginal Nation in far west New South Wales.

Kim Scott, of the Noongar community

Ellen Van Neerven, a Yugambeh woman from South-East Queensland

Waipuldanya, a.k.a. Phillip Roberts, of the Alawa people, as told to Douglas Lockwood

Maori Authors

Arapera Blank, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu descent, and winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award in 1959

Marino Blank, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu and Swiss descent

  • Crimson (a collection of poetry, review TBA)

Patricia Grace of Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa descent

And from elsewhere…


  1. Hi Lisa, the piece I’m reviewing isn’t listed on Goodreads, so I hope you don’t mind me leaving my short write-up here instead.
    Review of Australian Fiction (vol 15, issue 4) – Kim Scott ‘Departure’ and Liz Hayden ‘Our warrior, our brother’.
    The blurb for this edition of RAF says ‘Kim Scott is one of Australia’s greatest writers. A member of the Noongar community, Kim’s novels, poetry and short stories have represented Noongar culture to the wider Australian and international communities’ and ‘Liz Hayden is a Balladong-Willmun/Willman woman of the south west of Western Australia. Her current research is titled Voice of the Other: A Nyoongar Woman’s Narrative, and explores the experience of a Nyoongar woman’s experience living in rural WA’.
    I loved Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance, but I wasn’t as excited about ‘Departure’. A young Indigenous girl takes a bus trip through rural WA to meet the relatives of her father. A quiet kind of menace stalks her on the trip – people stare at her a lot – but also the companionship of being recognised as a local girl, even by those who don’t know her. I spent a while wondering what it would be like to have people I’d never met think of me as family, to offer me help in a far-off bus station even when I had no need of it. It’d be nice, I reckon, if a little stifling at times. The story ends with an intimation that things haven’t gone well, but nothing is resolved.
    Liz Hayden’s story is eviscerating. It is told simply and bluntly and starkly, with no unnecessary detail or linking narrative. It’s just the facts, and the facts are horrible. An indigenous family suffers over and over and over, and keeps going on until the suffering and the utterly uncaring racism of local whites just becomes too much. This is bleak stuff, but eye-opening and affecting, and will stay with me for a long time.


    • Interesting that you focussed in on what it would be like to have strangers regard you as family, this is what happens in Bruce Pascoe’s Earth when the main character is made aware of his responsibilities as the Elders pass on. It must happen a lot in the wake of the Stolen Generations, communities would look carefully at each stranger who arrives, to see if it might be untraced missing family, and imagine their joy if they see a family resemblance. But for the stranger, as you say, it would be overwhelming, as it is in Pascoe’s book. Introverts like me can live happily in the suburbs, but I’m not sure how we’d get on in an indigenous community!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Read for ANZLitLovers’ Indigenous Literature Week. […]


  3. Thanks Lisa


  4. Hi Lisa, I’m chiming in a bit late ( and I never got around to signing up- who know that I’d actually participate anyway?) But I did read a book! YAY. I read Sally Morgan’s moving new YA verse novel Sister Heart.


    • Louise, you are welcome to join in anytime, and thanks for your contribution. I am not surprised to see that you became a convert to verse novels after reading Stephen Herrick, I remember reading one of his, Do-Wrong Ron, to my Y5&6 classes when it was nominated for the CBCA Book of the Year, and they really liked it. Until then I’d done very little poetry with these classes and they were inspired to realise that you could actually tell a story in verse…


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