Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 5, 2019

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2019

 Indigenous Literature Week 2019 at ANZ Litlovers 

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

For information about ILW 2019, click here.


Thanks to everyone who is participating in 2019 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.

2019 Reviews (in alphabetical order by author)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors

Lisa Bellear (1961-2006), a Goernpil woman of the Noonuccal people of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), Queensland.

Tony Birch born in Melbourne and an urban Koorie of Aboriginal, Irish and West Indian descent

Burnum Burnum, a Woiworrung and Yorta Yorta man at Wallaga Lake in southern New South Wales.

  •  Burnum Burnum’s Aboriginal Australia, A Traveller’s Guide (1988)
    • See my review (part of my review of Marcia Langton’s Welcome to Country)

Stan Grant, a “self-identified Indigenous Australian who counts himself among the Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi, Dharrawal and Irish.”

Marcia Langton, a descendant of the Yiman and Bidjara nations in Queensland

  • Welcome to Country, a Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia

Melissa Lucashenko of the Ygambeh/Bundjalung people of northern coastal New South Wales.

Nakkiah Lui, a Gamileroi and Torres Strait Islander woman

Bruce Pascoe from the Bunurong clan, of the Kulin nation

Alison Whittaker, a Gomeroi woman from the floodplains of Gunnedah

Tara June Winch, a Wiradjuri woman who now lives in France

Alexis Wright, of the Waanyi people in the Gulf region of Queensland.

Children’s Books

Brona from Brona’s books has reviewed a wonderful collection of children’s books in her post Indigenous Picture Books for Children. They include

  • Baby Business (2019) by Jasmine Seymour, a member of the Durag Custodian Aboriginal Corporation;
  • Sorry Day (2018) by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler, from the Bigambul and Mandandanji people of SW Queensland;
  • Little Bird’s Day (2019) by Sally Morgan from the Bailgu people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr, a Yolgu man from the Ganalbingu clan;
  • Welcome to Country (2019) by Aunty Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy. Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin AO is an Elder of the Wurundjeri People of Melbourne and environs, and Lisa Kennedy is a descendant of the Trawlwoolway People on the north-east coast of Tasmania;
  • Wilam: A Birrarung Story (2019) is another story by Aunty Joy Murphy with Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy. Andrew Kelly is a Yarra Riverkeeper;
  • My Culture and Me (2019) by Gregg Dreise, a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi tribes, from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales;
  • Black Cockatoo (2018) by Carl Merrison, a Jaru man from Halls Creek and his partner Hakea Hustler.

Brona also included in her collection The Land of the Echidna People, the eighth book in Percy Trezise’s Journey to the Great Lakes series.  Neither Tresize nor the illustrator Mary Lewis are indigenous, but he worked throughout his life in artistic collaboration with Dick Roughsey, from the Lardil language group on Mornington Island in the south-eastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland and there can be little doubt that these books belong in any collection of Indigenous picture books for children.

Brona also brings us the news that her plans to include Young Dark Emu: A Truer History (2019) by Bruce Pascoe from the Bunurong clan, of the Kulin nation were frustrated by the first print run selling out in a matter of days!

Maori Authors

Te Awhina Arahanga of Ngati Tuwharetoa Te Atihaunui A Paparangi Ngati Hauiti ki Rata, Rapuwai Waitaha Mamoe Tahu descent, in

  • Here We Are, Read Us: Women, disability and writing, edited by Trish Harris

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

Witi Ihimaera, descended from Te Aitanga A Mahaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngati Porou tribes

And from elsewhere…

Tommy Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma,

Louise Erdrich, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe, from the Ojibwe Indians of America

Further reading


  1. Would you like reviews I’ve done earlier this year – two of which I think you read last year? If so I’ll add them here.

    I expect to be in town this year, ie not travelling, for the first time in a few years so will hopefully manage a couple of books. I have a couple in mind.


  2. […] to “make more people aware of indigenous writing”. You are therefore invited to participate by reading “Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori literature” or indigenous literature from […]


  3. […] the page for Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers 2019 so that you can use the comments box there […]


  4. Here is my review of The white girl, Lisa:

    I’m working on a non-indigenous one but I reckon it may not get done until next week. I plan to sneak in a shorter Aussie work before then though to keep my end up


    • Thanks, Sue, just reading it now:)


  5. Here’s my rather ambivalent review of Stan Grant’s ‘On Identity’. Only a small book, but I found it hard to respond to.


    • Thanks, Janine. I’ve read it too, (#snap! it’s scheduled for tomorrow) and I found it difficult to review as well.


      • I have it on my bed right now with a plan to read and review it too, so I won’t read your reviews until I’ve done mine (if I do manage to do it!)


  6. Here is MY post on On identity: I’m rather sorry that the two books I’ve done are ones done by others as it’s nice to increase the number of works covered here, but c’est la vie. I’ll tell you when I’ve not my non-Aussie one next week.


    • Thanks, Sue, I’ve added to the Reviews page and the Reading list: it’s fascinating to see how the three of us (you, Janine and me) have each discussed different aspects of this essay!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s my post on Lisa Bellear’s Aboriginal Country, including a list of other Aboriginal poets I’ve read and been enriched by over the last decade or so:

    This year I’ve also reviewed Alexis wright’s Tracker, at, and Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip, at


    • Wow, thanks, Jonathan, this is great, I’ll add them all to the Reading List:)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I finally finished my post on Indigenous picture books – I’ve pored over it for hours, days and weeks & I cannot edit it any more!! Please let me know if you spot any glaring typo’s or errors – I’m incapable of seeing them atm :-)


    • Brona, this is a magnificent contribution, and I would have been ecstatic to see it when I was teaching and looking for resources like this. I can’t see any faults in it at all, my only suggestion would be to add Sally Morgan’s heritage which (via Wikipedia) is from the Bailgu people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
      I’m just adding your link to the reading list pages now.

      Mandaangguwu! That’s how you say ‘thank you’ in Wiradjuri, Anita Heiss taught us this at the Word-for-Festival in Geelong last year:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Lisa- I’ll add Sally’s details when I’m next on my pc. I did mean to go back & do that…


        • And Bruce Pascoe’s Young Dark Emu turned back up on the shelves yesterday :-)


          • Excellent. I want that book in every school and children’s library in Australia!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Don’t worry, I think you’ve done a wonderful job, and believe me, I *know* how much work is involved in tracking down those background details.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. […] billet was due for Lisa’s Indigenous Lit Week but time went away from me and I’m […]


  10. Sneaking in one last review Lisa – for The Yield –


    • I wish you could see my smile, Brona, I love your review, especially the quotations you’ve chosen. I’ve added it to the reviews page and the reading list, so thank you!
      It’s such a brilliant book, I am sure it’s going to be on lots of shortlists:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m just glad to know that I brought a smile to someone’s lips today!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Finally, finally, finally, my non-australian indigenous book: Louise Erdrich’s The bingo palace:


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