Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 5, 2019

Announcing 2019 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers

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

ANZ LitLovers will again be hosting Indigenous Literature Week in July to coincide with NAIDOC Week here in Australia. (7 to 14 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 Voice, Treaty, Truth. This This theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

ANZ LitLovers’ contribution to NAIDOC Week is to celebrate all forms of Indigenous Writing, and I hope that many 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 to a focus on 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, (and if you want to see how foolish it is to label people, see the first quotation here.)

Thanks to contributions from a fantastic bunch of participants in previous years of ILW  the reading list is now extensiveFor 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 —short story, memoir, biography, whatever takes your fancy!  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. (There is a list of Indigenous Women Writers there too.)

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 2019 (as soon as it’s posted) 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 these titles from Australia:

and from New Zealand

Most 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

(There is, of course, AustLit’s Black Words, but there’s not much point in me supplying a link to a subscription-only resource.)

PS Please use the #IndigLitWeek & #NAIDOC2019 hashtags on Twitter.


  1. […] For information about ILW 2019, click here. […]


  2. I will of course join in, and hope to read a couple from my TBR, including, if I can manage it, a Louise Erdrich one because I’ve been wanting to get to it for years. It feels a bit of a betrayal though not to read our own this week. I’ve only had the Erdrich since 1995 so I suppose it could wait a bit longer!!


    • Sue, your loyalty to this reading week is fantastic, I think you’ve joined in every year I’ve ever hosted it:)
      Don’t forget that if things get busy, you can always just do a short story.
      (One year I did a post about options for the time poor, I must hunt that out again!!!)


      • Haha, thanks Lisa … I sure won’t forget that. I might even have done that once before!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I plan to join in. I’ll read Aboriginal Country by Lisa Bellair


    • Thanks, Jonathan. I’m just revising my suggestions of short works for the time poor, and I’ll add that one because it’s poetry:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Lisa and ANZ Lit Readers,

    It’s my pleasure to participate in the 2019 Indigenous Literature Week. What I plan to do differently from the previous three years is to read a work of scholarship in addition to literary texts. The following are my selection of texts:

    • Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
    • Inside My Mother by Ali Cobby Eckermann
    • Us Women, Our Ways, Our World edited by Pat Dudgeon, Jeannie Herbert, Jill Milroy, and Darlene Oxenham

    My of my scholarly work and literary interests are in exploring literature and feminist texts by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. I look forward to reading these texts and learning of other texts that the ANZ Lit. Readers will choose.

    Thanks Lisa.



  5. I of course have Growing Up Aboriginal in Aust. which I won in a giveaway (thank you!). I can’t see anything else on my shelves except Blakwork, a poetry collection by Alison Whittaker which will stretch me, but I’ll see what I can do.

    I “approved” a whole heap of Indig.Lit reviews earlier today without seeing where you were listing them and I wondered if you would also like to refer to WA playwright, Jack Davis – A Boy’s Life (memoir) and No Sugar (play) and Mairi has reviewed some of his poetry. If yes, I’ll email the links.


    • That would be excellent Bill:) I absolutely love that Growing Up Aboriginal anthology, and the more publicity it gets the happier I am.
      I am ahead of you with Jack Davis because I already have your review of A Boy’s Life and Mairi’s thoughts on the reading list ( which is guess is where you saw the links?) I’m not sure when I added them but I think they’ve been there for a while…
      It would be great if you could do the Blakwork too because (as you know) poetry is not my strength and there just isn’t enough of it on this blog.


  6. Count me in! And if WhisperingGums is heading over to this continent, I’ll aim to head over to your continent in return. I’ve been meaning to read The Swan Book for ages! And I have a couple others on my shelves from your corner of the world as well. But I might also be tempted by my last Erdrich, to finish the lot. (In addition, not instead. I’ve just put in my library request for Wright’s novel.)


    • That’s great, the late, great Kevin from Canada always used to say that there were many correspondences between Canada and Australia which made our literatures a great fit for each other:)
      I see from your recent post that you have new books from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Lee Maracle. LOL #NoPressure I’m keen to see your reviews of those two as well…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahah Yes, there are overviews of each author, set for today and for the 21st of June, considering a few of those authors’ works, and I’ve just checked to see that a copy of The Swan Book is now en route to me via inter-city-library loan. (Also, I was sloppy with my possessive pronoun in my comment above: I’m unlearning the habit of ‘my’ and ‘your’ when it comes to geography and the concept of ownership because it can be so easily misunderstood when people’s sovereignty has been challenged on those very grounds in the past and it can unintentionally reinforce an historic injustice.)


  7. I’m in! I have Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss, A Most Peculiar Act by Mary Munkara and Blood by Tony Birch.

    I don’t think I’ll have the time to read the three but I’ll read at least one.


    • Thanks Emma! Whichever you choose, you are in for good reading. I loved all three of them:)


  8. […] Hill at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog will once again host Indigenous Literature Week from 7th to 14th July, “to coincide”, she says, “with NAIDOC Week” in Australia. The aim of […]


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