Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 1, 2018

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2018

 Indigenous Literature Week 2018 at ANZ Litlovers

Cultural warning: Indigenous Australians are advised that some of the links from this blog include images or names of people now deceased.

For information about ILW 2018, click here.


Thanks to everyone who is participating in 2018 Indigenous Literature Week – I hope that hosting this celebration helps to make more people aware of indigenous writing!

You are welcome to add your review/s early (or late). I will be monitoring this page until the end of July.

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 GoodReads 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 permanent Indigenous Reading List.

PS If you haven’t signed up to participate yet, or want to know more about ILW, click on the link at the top of this page.

2018 Reviews (in alphabetical order by author)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors

Ngarta Jinny Bent, with Jukuna Mona Chuguna of the the Walmajarri people of the Great Sandy Desert, south of the Kimberley in Western Australia

Tony Birch

  • Common People
    • see Sonia a.k.a. S. Maxine’s thoughts in her comment here

Paul Collis, a Barkindji man, from far western NSW on the Darling River.

Gurindji People writing collaboratively and edited by Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins: too many to name individually here but they are listed in the credits in my ANZ Litlovers review

Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ruby Langford Ginibi

Anita Heiss (editor)

Rosie Malezer, a Gubbi-Gubbi woman from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland

Mudrooroo, a.k.a. Colin Johnson

Marie Munkara, descended from the Tiwi, Chinese & Rembarranga people whose lands are southeast of Katherine in the Northern territory.

Noel Pearson of Bagaarrmugu and Guggu Yalanji descent, and Shireen Morris

Kim Scott, a Noongar man from southern Western Australia

John Wenitong writing as Pemulwuy Weeatunga, of Kabi-kabi Aboriginal, South-Sea-islander, Nepalese and Indian/Sri-Lankan descent.

Maori Authors

Alan Duff of Ngāti Rangitihi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent

Patricia Grace

  • Collected Stories
    • see Sonia a.k.a. S. Maxine’s thoughts in her comment here

Kelly Ana Morey of Ngati Kuri descent

And from elsewhere…

There There, by Tommy Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma,  see Becky’s review at Becky’s Books

Further reading

‘Me Write Myself’, the Free Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Dieman’s Land at Wybalenna 1832-47, by Leonie Stevens.  This book is ground-breaking because it tells the story of these Aborigines using their own words from original sources.


  1. […] the page for Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers 2018 (as soon as it’s posted) so that you can use the comments box there […]


  2. I’ll try to participate.

    I wanted to read Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss but it’s not available in my kindle store.

    I got one of her chick lit one instead, hoping that the “choc” you or Sue mentioned would be stronger than the “chick” in her book but alas, no, I can’t muster any interest for the character’s serial dating and wild husband chase.

    Any suggestion of a slim book not too complicated to read and yet informative? I’m asking for a lot, I know. But I count on you vast knowledge of indigenous lit to find one that fits the bill :-)


    • I know what you mean about the ‘chick-choc’ lit, I tried one once and it just wasn’t to my taste. But Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is entirely different so I hope you can get hold of it one day…
      A short one that you should be able to get for your Kindle (because I read it on Kindle) is one I have scheduled for review: Nyarla and the Circle of Stones which is Book 1 of The Fethafoot Chronicles, see The author has set out to create an Aboriginal version of mythic tales like the Greek legends, and I liked the concept very much. And it’s short!


  3. I usually try to do this read-a-long with either indigenous US or Australian authors. This year I think I might read “House Made of Dawn” by N. Scott Momaday – it was one of the first – Momaday is Kiowa – the book was first published in 1968.

    But I’ve also got Carpenteria by Alexis Wright on my wish list as well as her other book, The Swan Book (which sounds really good).


    • Oh wow, you are spoiled for choice:)
      That Kiowa one sounds interesting, just the story of getting it published in that era would be interesting in itself, if indigenous experience in Australia is anything to go by. For us, although Indigenous Australians had been writing almost since first settlement, and although there were some trailblazers, as far as I can tell, the journey into the world of mainstream publication and awareness didn’t really start to happen until the 1980s.


  4. Well, I see “There, There” byTommy Orange is fresh off the press – Cherokee indians in Oakland – I was so curious about this I had to get it. I’m in North Dakota so no time now, but will be home in a couple weeks. Yay!


    • That sounds interesting:) I still haven’t ever read anything by an American Indian author, I tried Celia’s Song by Lee Maracle but it just didn’t hit the mark for me so I didn’t finish it. (Though it might have been because I read it on Kindle, that’s rarely a good experience for me, whatever the book).


  5. I recently listened to and then read The Deadman Dance by Kim Scott. Wonderful. I wrote about it on Booklog for Charlotte.

    The NAIDOC celebration continues for me tomorrow with a visit to the Phillips Collection exhibit Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women from Aboriginal Australia, a trip organized by our own Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Charlottesville, VA.


    • Thank you, Charlotte, it’s lovely to hear from you… I shall add your review to the reading list ASAP – I am so glad you liked it, it’s a very special book to me.
      That’s interesting to hear about the Phillips Collection exhibition, it’s very exciting to see how contemporary artists are recognised around the world.


  6. […] reviews page until the end of July and will add any additional reviews to the database.  Please use the comments box on the reviews page to indicate where your review is with a […]


  7. Thanks for the invite Lisa. An honour to be asked.


    • Thank you so much for sharing this: it sounds like a book I’d love to read and I want a lot of people to know about it. I’ll add your review to the Master Indigenous Reading List right away!


  8. […] Lisa (ANZLitLovers) has reviewed this book, as has French blogger Emma (Book around the corner) and the Resident Judge. Read for Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Indigenous Literature Week. […]


  9. Hi Lisa, I’ve finally posted my book review. Sorry it was so late for your week –


    • No need to apologise… I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures in Arnhem Land!


  10. Thanks for organising this, Lisa! I missed the event, but I saw Emma’s post on Of Ashes and Rivers That Run to the Sea and was inspired to read the book, which I really enjoyed.


    • Hello Andrew, Emma is a great ambassador for AusLit:)

      I will add your review to the Master Reading List, and hopefully you will join in next year too? It’s always in July, to coincide with NAIDOC week.


      • Thanks Lisa! Yes, I do plan to join in next year, and in fact I already added it to my calendar. I didn’t mention it in my earlier comment because I’ve been really struggling with finding time to blog lately, and my good intentions always seem to get blown off course by other priorities. But hey, it’s only one post, about a year from now, and I’d love to read more Indigenous literature. I’ll commit :)


        • That’s great – and there’s no shortage of terrific books to read:)


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: