Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 1, 2021

Announcing 2021 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.

2021 is the 10th anniversary of ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Literature Week:
a virtual event that has always been about encouraging Australians to read and learn from Indigenous authors and to celebrate all forms of Indigenous Writing.

This year ANZ LitLovers will again be hosting Indigenous Literature Week to coincide with NAIDOC Week, from Sunday July 4th to Sunday July 11th.

The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

I hope that many readers will join in and read a book by an Indigenous author.  But even if you don’t have time or opportunity to do that, at least you can read the reviews, because educating ourselves about Australia’s Black History and culture, and listening to Indigenous voices is a pathway to reconciliation.

Reading the reviews of Indigenous-authored books that have been featured during Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers every year is not the only place to start educating yourself, but it’s an easy place to start because the reviews lead to the authentic, authoritative voices of Indigenous authors.

While I would like Australians to participate by reading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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, poetry, 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.

Interested?

  • 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 2020 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.

I have a wealth of reading on the TBR.  It’s unlikely I can read them all, but I’ve listed them here as an ambition.

  • Bitin’Back, by Vivienne Cleven, of the Kamilaroi people in Queensland
  • Living on Stolen Land, by Ambelin Kwyamullina, from the Palyku people of the Pilbara in Western Australia
  • Loving Country, a guide to sacred Australia, by Bruce Pascoe of the Bunurong people in Victoria and Vicky Shukuroglou
  • The Cherry-Picker’s Daughter, by Kerry Reed-Gilbert (1956-2019), a Wiradjuri woman from New South Wales. (Read, review scheduled for #IndigLitWeek)
  • Homecoming, by Elfie Shiosaki, a Noongar and Yawuru woman from Western Australia
  • Song of the Crocodile, by Nardi Simpson, a Yuwaalaray woman from New South Wales
  • Debesa, by Cindy Solonec, a Nigena (Nyikina) woman from the West Kimberley (Read, review scheduled for #IndigLitWeek)
  • Top End Girl by Miranda Tapsell, a Larrakia Tiwi woman from the Northern Territory and Tiwi Islands (Read, review scheduled for #IndigLitWeek plus a giveaway for the movie!)
  • God, the Devil and Me, by Alf Taylor, of the Nyoongah people of Western Australia
  • Born into This, by Adam Thompson, a pakana man from Launceston, Tasmania
  • If Everyone Cared, the autobiography of Margaret Tucker (1904-1996) a Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman from New South Wales
  • Where the Wild Fruit Falls, by Karen Wyld, with Pilbara heritage (currently reading)

I have two Samoan titles from New Zealand this year:

  • Scarlet Lies by Lani Wendt Young (Maori)
  • Leaves of the Banyan Tree by Albert Wendt

Most of the above titles can be purchased, but publishers don’t generally make it easy to find (or find out 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 hashtag on Twitter.

This post was written on the traditional land of the Ngaruk-Willam clan, one of the six clans of the Bunerong (Boonwurrung or Boon wurrung) saltwater people of the Kulin nation.


Responses

  1. […] For information about ILW 2021, click here. […]

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  2. I’m in. Sue has given me a book but you’ll have to wait till I’m home for me to put a name to it. The other book I’d like to read is Wacvie by Faith Bandler, the story of her father (who was Indigenous to the New Hebrides/Vanuatu).

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    • Oh, that sounds like an interesting book: would that be one of the first Indigenous biographies?

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      • I don’t know really, but how about I, The Aboriginal for first.

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        • Wikipedia says Wacvie was 1977… but was Douglas Lockwood Aboriginal?
          I need to get my own copy of the Macquarie Anthology of Aboriginal Literature! It’s expensive, so when I need to know something I just go to the library where they always have a copy, but…Lockdown#4…

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          • PS I’ve just ordered a copy. I need it.

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        • Lockwood was a white journalist, but the words are those of his subject.

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          • Ah, so these days it would be published by the subject’s name as author, with ‘as told to’ or ‘with’ Lockwood.

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            • It was a book everyone read in school. On rereading I expected to find it patronising but it’s actually fascinating. I think you already have my review (from some years ago).

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              • I’ll have a look. I’m just about to have my French class by Zoom so LOL I need to go and put on some lipstick…

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                • Yes, it’s there, see Waipuldanya, a.k.a. Phillip Roberts.

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          • I was going to reply, as I’ve also read it, but you’ve done it. I read it back in the late 1960s when I also read Kath Walker as she was known then. There wasn’t much around so you read what you could!

            Liked by 1 person

      • And Tracker for best.

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        • I was not so enamoured with Tracker. I thought the early parts were great, but after that it was a bit of a plod.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m in too. I have a little shelf of books (including three on your list above) but how many I’ll read I don’t know. I do know for a fact, though, that I scheduled Nardi Simpson’s book for my reading group’s July book, but that will be at the end of July. I’ll do my best to remember to add my review in then given you are monitoring your link page all July. (I’ve suggested my reading group do a First Nations author each July from now on, and think they’ve agreed!)

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    • That will be great, Sue, and what a good initiative! *chuckle* If you could just move it forward to June for 2022, that would be even better!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Count me in! I have the new Anita Heiss here ready and waiting – “Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray” – and if I have time I might see if I can also read Claire G. Coleman’s “The Old Lie” which has been in my TBR for more than a year.

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    • Wonderful, I’m looking forward to reading Anita’s so it will be good to see what you think of it first. #NameDroppingFamousPeople You know I’ve met her? It was at the NF Festival and it wasn’t just at a book signing, we had drinks together at the hotel. She is such a lovely person!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes, I think you might have told me that before 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m in! I have Living on Stolen Land, Drop Bear (Evelyn Araluen) and Where the Fruit Falls in a pile beside my bed at this very moment, borrowed from my local library. Will get on to them as soon as I’ve finished Finding the Heart of the Nation (Thomas Mayor). I can thoroughly recommend this passionate championing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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    • *smacks forehead* I knew there was another Indigenous book I wanted and I knew it was about the Uluru Statement from the Heart, but I could not think of the title when I was putting in Keep-My-Bookshop-Going-During-Lockdown order at a Readings this week.
      Not to worry, this is just the excuse I needed to put in a Keep-My-Bookshop-Going-During-Lockdown order at Benn’s Books too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Lisa, I will read, If Everyone Cared by Margaret Tucker. It has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, waiting to be read.

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    • Wonderful. I’m inspired by that photo of her on the cover, such dignity…

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  7. Hello Lisa and fellow readers,
    This is Sonia from the United States. I look forward to participating in Indigenous Literature Week with the ANZ Lit community. Most of the more recent titles aren’t available in the U.S. yet. Books I’m currently interested in reading are
    Born into This by Adam Thompson
    The Cherry Picker’s Daughter by Kerry Reed-Gilbert
    Meet Me at the Intersection edited by Rebecca Lim & Ambelin Kwaymullina
    The White Girl by Tony Birch
    Dancing Home by Paul Collis

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    • Fantastic, Maxine, I always welcome your contributions!
      (I hope you can find some of the books).

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  8. […] involved, please leave a comment for Lisa, letting her know what you intend to read. Head over to Announcing 2021 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers for a wealth of reading suggestions and to discover the NAIDOC 2021 theme. You are […]

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  9. I’m in!
    I’ll read A Peculiar Act by Marie Munkara.

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    • Fantastic! I loved that book, sharp, biting, but *very* funny satire.

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  10. Hi Lisa, I’d love to participate this year! I plan to read The Imaginary Lives Of James Pōneke by Maori writer Tina Makereti. I also have a book on my Kindle by an Inuit writer, Niviaq Korneliussen, which I think would fit in with the broader scope of indigenous literature from around the world. It’s called Crimson. So I’ll see if I can read and review both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That will be wonderful! I look forward to seeing those reviews:)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, I’m in. I’m just finishing a collection of stories by Beth Piatote, The Beadworkers, a Nez Perce writer enrolled with Colville Confederate Tribes in (the land currently called) the United States, but I’ll have some more to share as well. Thanks for hosting!

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  12. Based on your recommendations, I have already begun reading a range of Indigenous writers (courtesy of my local public library). Here’s a short review of
    ‘LIVING ON STOLEN LAND’ by AMBELIN KWAYMULLINA
    I was surprised to find this book classified as Junior Fiction in my public library.
    It is NOT Fiction, and the issues and language in it would go over the head of most juniors. I must inform the library.
    Here’s the blurb: ‘Living on Stolen Land is a prose-style manifesto about our settler-colonial ‘present’. At once a call and a guide to action, this beautifully articulated declaration is a must-read for anyone interested in decolonising Australia.
    Kwaymullina’s approach is gentle but firm, a non-patronising explanation to the non-indigenous of sovereignty, Indigenous relationships, settler-colonialism, bias. She shows how settlers benefit from structural, explicit and unconscious bias and how even the most well-meaning of us holds the latter as a result of everything that has gone before. She makes suggestions how we can begin to overcome these biases, using appealing and encouraging language.
    Structural colonialism exists within us, in the form of patterns of thought and behaviour. We need to identify, challenge and disrupt these structures. This is a journey, a series of transformations based on forming respectful relationships. She suggests it can begin by engaging with the stories that Indigenous people tell about themselves. This is what I resolve to do.

    and

    DROP BEAR by EVELYN ARALUEN
    Satirical, angry prose identifying the political, social and cultural frictions within Australia, and Araluen’s place in history/memory. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Living on Stolen Land. Perhaps because it made me somewhat uncomfortable, but also because I found parts of it difficult to understand, particularly the earlier entries. I preferred the pieces towards the end of the book.
    However, I enjoyed the dark humour in ‘Acknowledgement of Cuntery’, a lament about identity, frustration and sadness. Yes, I too cringe at the superficial gestures of support that are the wearing of the Aboriginal flag on a T-shirt, or the temporary frame used on a Facebook profile.
    I loved the reference in satirical ‘Appendix Australis’:
    ‘#43. I would like to respect honour and remember the ancestors who spilt white blood for this place.’
    My favourite was ‘Breath’, a short recollection of how Araluen felt to be in Europe while Australia burned during the summer of 2019-20. I knew (almost) exactly how she felt, lviing in France at the time.
    I recognised the references in ‘Mrs Kookaburra Addresses the Natives’ and ‘Appendix Australis’, and I was reminded of a recent comment I read about the beloved Snugglepot and Cuddlepie of my childhood. Some Indigenous people have rejected May Gibbs’ patronising whitewashing of the bush, and her depiction of the Big, Bad Banksia Men as black villains ‘with their skinny black legs and wide black mouths’. With her numerous references to these stories, as well as Ethel Pedley’s ‘Dot and the Kangaroo’ and Dorothy Wall’s ‘Blinky Bill and Nutsy’, I wonder if Araluen has trouble reconciling her childhood enjoyment of them and their characters with her blak activism and her writing that confronts settler myths.

    Like

    • Wow, Meredith, this comment is worthy of a blog post! I’d offer to host a review for you, but I know you have your own blog. If you’d like to publish it there where it will have a permanent home, I’ll link to it from here.
      I agree about Living on Stolen Land. I have a copy and I’ve read most of it, but not all of it so I haven’t written a review of it yet. My guess is that the library is familiar with Kwaymullina’s children’s books (which are gorgeous, I had them in the school library) and so she’s placed it in Junior for that reason?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I intend to write up a post in the next few weeks. I’ll send you the link when I’m done. You’re probably right about the library classification. I’ll be looking for examples of her picture books next!

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        • The ones I had were suitable for 5-8 year olds, so they make perfect presents if you have small children in your life.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your insight on ‘LIVING ON STOLEN LAND and DROP BEAR. There have been rave reviews of EVELYN ARALUEN’s poetry.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Maxine, it’s good to see you here:)
        Meredith is going to review it on her blog but in the meantime I’m going to figure out how to link Meredith’s comment to my reviews page so that I can find it when I want to.

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  13. […] If you want to join me in Indigenous Literature Week, have a look at all the wonderful books there are to choose from on the ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Literature Reading List, and sign up on this page. […]

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  14. I said this last year Lisa, but my reading took such a dip I never made it – 2021 is the year! I’ll join in reading Traplines by Eden Robinson. I’ve just started it so I really think I’ll make it :-)

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  15. I will be reading again this year I have 3 books reserved at my local library.

    The first one I will definitely have by the 4th July – Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea by Marie Munkara. I read and enjoyed another of her books back in 2012 – a book of short stories – Every Secret Thing

    Then The Cherry-Picker’s Daughter by Kerry Reed-Gilbert is due on the 10th July – is an EBook so will come in on that day. She is a new for me author

    But the one I really can’t wait to read is Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss – I have had that on reserve for a while now and still got a few people ahead of me – another eBook but is not due until September. But will still count it. I can recommend any of Anita Heiss’s books.

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    • That’s great, Sally:)
      I like Marie Munkara too, she hasn’t had a new book for a while but I live in hope that there will soon be more.
      I’ve just read The Cheery-Picker’s Daughter and scheduled my review for #IndigLitWeek, it’s an amazing story, deceptively simple but a powerful portrait of amazing women…
      I have Anita Heiss’s book to read as well… I really liked Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms so I’m expecting this to be good too.
      And yes, you can ‘count’ any books you read, September or not!

      Like

  16. Oh forgot to say – I’ve created a goodreads shelf here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4949011-sally906?shelf=indigenous-literature-week

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    • That’s great, Sally:) Well done!

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  17. I’m in, though I need to get my skates on and select a book.

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    • That’s great, Julie, I’ve really appreciated your previous contributions:)

      Like

  18. […] of the blogs I follow has celebrated Indigenous Literature Week for ten years. This is a virtual event designed by ANZ LitLovers to ‘encourage Australians to […]

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  19. […] part of Indigenous Literature Week, here’s my review of The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke by Maori author Tina […]

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  20. […] Week 2021. I have been inspired by a fellow blogger who, for the last ten years, has celebrated Indigenous Literature Week, a virtual event designed by ANZ LitLovers to ‘encourage Australians to read and learn from Indigenous authors and to celebrate all forms of […]

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  21. […] review of Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen is my second post for Indigenous Literature Week. The first was a review of The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke by Tina […]

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  22. […] ANZLitLovers Indigenous Literature Week, 4-11 July 2021 […]

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  23. […] the last ten years, ANZ LitLovers has celebrated Indigenous Literature Week, a virtual event designed to ‘encourage Australians to read and learn from Indigenous authors and […]

    Like

  24. […] because: It’s NAIDOC week, and for Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week at […]

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  25. […] This blog post is also a contribution to Indigenous Literature Week hosted by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers blog. […]

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  26. […] is my contribution to Lisa’s wonderful annual event, ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Literature Week. I’m writing this hurriedly last minute to get it done in time, but do head over to Lisa’s blog […]

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  27. […] ANZLitLovers Indigenous Literature Week, 4-11 July 2021 […]

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  28. […] also wanted to read this book as part of my contribution to Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week that has now finished on the ANZLitlovers page. Stan Grant is probably one of the best-known […]

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  29. […] ANZLitLovers Indigenous Literature Week, 4-11 July 2021 […]

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