Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 6, 2017

Announcing 2017 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers

 ANZ LitLovers will again be hosting Indigenous Literature Week in July to coincide with NAIDOC Week here in Australia. (2 to 9 July).

This is a week when Australians celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and this year the NAIDOC Week theme is Our Languages Matter.

2017 National NAIDOC logo ( Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-N4 4.0).

ANZ LitLovers’ contribution to NAIDOC Week is 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 contributions from a fantastic bunch of participants in previous years of ILW  the reading list is growingFor reasons of space and time and personal preference my reading list is mostly 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!  There’s lots to choose from: there are more than 75 books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and nearly 30 Maori authors reviewed on this blog alone.  The permanent link to my reading list (and to other useful reading lists) is on the ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List in the top menu.

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


  • If you’d like to participate simply say so in comments below.  Tell us what you think you might read in the comments box to help spread awareness of what’s available. .  You never know, you might encourage someone else to try the book too! (You can always change your mind later if you want to).
  • Bookmark the page for Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers 2017 so that you can use the comments box there either
    • to provide the URL of your review on your blog, your Goodreads page or your Library Thing page, or
    • to share your thoughts as a comment and then I’ll add it to the reading list.
  • If you would like to write a guest review of your book for ANZLL I will happily host it here too.

From the TBR I will be reading some titles I’ve been hoarding for a while.  From Australia, I’ll be choosing from:

and from New Zealand

All of the above titles can be purchased using the links to fishpond, but publishers don’t generally make it easy to find (or find about) indigenous writing.  I find the most useful sources for indigenous titles are

  • UQP – use their Browse Books menu to find David Unaipon Award winners, titles from the Blak & Bright Festival, and Black Australian Writing;
  • Wakefield Press – choose browse by category from the top RHS side of the home page (under the search box).  Not all these titles are by indigenous authors so choose carefully;
  • and indigenous publishing houses Magabala Books and Jukurrpa/IAD Press

PS Please use the #IndigLitWeek & #NAIDOC hashtags on Twitter.


  1. […] For information about ILW 2017, click here. […]

  2. I’ll join in Lisa, I’ll source some poetry (I have a bit on the shelves), hopefully I can tee up an interview or two!!!

    • That would be great, Tony:) We don’t have enough poetry in the Indigenous Reading List, so it be really helpful.

      • I’ll also try to get to a book that’s been on my shelves for sometime “The Intervention” – political views on the impact, non-fiction, hope that’s ok?

        • Yes, absolutely, that’s very good timing because it’s been 10 years this year and The Intervention Anthology has certainly shaped my ideas about a lot of things…
          I don’t still have it, or I would send you my copy.

          • Thanks anyway but I have my own copy Lisa – I crowdfunded it to get it to print. An excuse to actually read it.

            • Oh, good on you! I found the intro a bit confusing because I didn’t know enough about it to start with, just what I’d read in the media, but some of the essays and poetry are really hard-hitting.

  3. Hi Lisa, I’ll do my best. I’m flying to the US for a month early that week (was just thinking the other day about your week and whether I’ll be able to manage it). My aim will be to read Ali Cobby Eckermann’s Inside my mother. I may not read another in time as I’ve a lot to do, but my reading group will be reading Stan Grant later in the year.

    • Uh-oh I hope you don’t get the Mem Fox treatment when you get there…

      • Me too … but I just have to get away to somewhere warm, and the various Aussie tours I wanted to do were booked out back in January. So, after umm-ing and ah-ing for months, we decided to go visit our Californian friend, and also explore a couple of places we’ve not been to before.

        • I’ve been to Canberra in the winter. I can see why you want to escape!

          • Haha, Lisa! Fair enough. Actually, it’s not so much the cold (we have such lovely sunny cold) but the dryness. It has always done my skin in, and as I get older it’s getting more problematical and I’ve realised that I need to give it some respite each year. I didn’t get much last year and by September I was a mess. Dry warm is fine, but dry cold is another thing altogether.

            • Is Canberra becoming more humid in summer, with climate change?

              • Hard to say as a trend, but this last summer was more humid than usual. (My skin – my life is controlled by my skin – reacts to cold dry and wet hot, so my fingers are crossed, selfishly, that we keep climate this under control!)

                • Amen to that.

  4. I’m in, with an overview of Perth playwright, Jack Davis.

  5. I’ll join in again but might not be able to review this year as I’m covering 2 jobs this July and August. I’ll try and read Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat and if that doesn’t agree with me I’ll read one of Kim Scott’s books that I have on my shelves or maybe an Anita Heiss.

    • Two jobs! How has that come about?

      • My job share partner is taking 7 weeks leave 😕

        • Yikes! Short books, maybe, for the duration…

          • Excellent idea 😄

  6. I’ve got a couple of children’s books to review, thanks to Magabala Books. Would they count?

    • Indeed they would They make beautiful books, I used to get them for my school library and the kids loved them.

      • Terrific. I’m all energised.

  7. Ooh, and I’ve also got ‘Us Women, Our Ways, Our World’ that they sent me too. Perfect timing!

    • Fantastic, I’ve hovered over getting that one myself so it will be great to have a review to help me make up my mind:)

  8. I’ve just been blown away with that extensive list of indigenous peoples on the Wikipedia site you suggested we look at. I’d ,over to take part, just not sure how I go about finding the author. Not all authors declare their origins do they? For a lot of the African countries it’s impossible to find anything in English. Any suggestions how to find authors?

    • Actually, it’s quite difficult here in Australia where Indigenous people have a high profile as our First People. For other places, quite honestly, I think it’s a matter of luck – basically hoping for a serendipitous Google search which leads to someone somewhere taking an interest and gathering things together. There might be something at Goodreads, perhaps ask about it on a general status update and see what happens, you could also try searching their groups.

      • Good suggestions Lisa, thanks

  9. I have an anthology of Australian Aboriginal writing that I picked up in Alice Springs (a few pieces are still in their original language). I will try to match that with something from Canada. June is Aboriginal History month here so I’ll keep my eyes open. I haven’t always enjoyed some of the writers I’ve read for the same reason I often feel lukewarm about much Canadian lit (a need to have tidy endings).

    • That would be great, Joe, and a very appropriate choice given this year’s theme. I’ve read a couple of bilingual Aboriginal books but I haven’t got any for this year.

  10. Lisa
    Just an fyi on what promises to be a wonderful addition to the works on where we live and how it all transpired
    Dennis Jones

    • Hi Dennis, has a link dropped off your comment? I went through to your site, but I’m not sure how to find indigenous titles there. (For ILW, the idea is that the books be written by indigenous authors, not about indigenous issues.)
      If there’s a beaut new novel, please let me know:)

  11. I’m in! I will do an Ihimaera, maybe Tangi

    • Great, thanks Kathryn. Ihimaera is a beaut author:)

  12. I’m hoping to join in, I’m just about to read a picture book- Welcome to Country, and also Mrs Whitlam by Bruce Pascoe.

    • Mrs Whitlam? Gough’s missus?

  13. […] Sign up here… […]

  14. Having been very slack in the reviewing arena of late, I have decided I must at least do one for Indigenous Literature Week. I know you have reviewed ‘After the Carnage’ yourself Lisa but, as you know, I have a copy of Tara June Winch’s wonderful collection so I’m committing to that!

    • The more reviews the merrier, I think, because we all interpret books in different ways:)

  15. I’m in. I’ve just seen Tony’ Birch’s book of short stories ‘The Promise’ at the library.

    • That’s great, thanks Janine:)

  16. […] I will get to all the other events I’ve booked in for, but Indigenous Literature Week starts tomorrow so I’ll be focussing on that.  But if you’re interested, have a look at […]

  17. I read Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane and loved it. It raised my spirits considerably. Here’s the link to what I wrote about it:

  18. […] July, as well as contributing at least one review to Lisa’s ANZLitLovers Indigenous Literature Week, I try to write a Monday Musings post related in some way to NAIDOC week which, as Aussies will […]

  19. […] own work. However, as Lisa Hill – one of the busiest women I know – is once again hosting Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers and will no doubt be continuing her phenomenal reading and posting routine, I feel the very least I […]


    My review of After the Carnage by Tara June Winch.

  21. The most important book for my own understanding of an Indigenous worldview has been Celia’s Song, by Lee Maracle, from the First Nations of the Canadian Northwest. Maracle immerses readers in the lives and thoughts of a family, struggling to combat imbalances that are simultaneously supernatural, communal, and personal and must be corrected in each sphere. I read and reviewed this book in the past and just returned to it with my book group. I was even more impressed this time around.

    I am currently reading Violence against Indigenous Women, by Allison Hargreaves. I do not know if the author is Indigenous, but in Canada a group of writers, scholars and activists are trying to articulate the differences between settler beliefs and attitudes and Indigenous ones. (Are others in other countries also engaged in this project?) They have government support and funding. While I applaud their intent, the results of their attempts are highly abstract and full of jargon. If we are to be able to reach across the gulf, I find literature and story, not theory as the best method. I will post a review of this book during the next week.

    • *chuckle* You know what? I bought a copy of this when I read your 2016 review but I could only get it for my Kindle and *smacks forehead* I forgot to list it on my TBR at Goodreads so I forgot all about it.
      *mutter* That’s what I hate about Kindles. You can’t set a book aside so that it waves at you every now and again and says ‘read me, read me’ like a proper book does.

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