Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 1, 2021

Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2021

 Indigenous Literature Week 2021 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 2021, click here.


Thanks to everyone who is participating in 2021 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).  If you know the name of the Indigenous nation or language group of your author please include that too.

(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.

2021 Reviews (in alphabetical order by author)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors

Evelyn Aruluen, a Goorie-Koori woman from Wurundjeri Country in New South Wales

Larissa Behrendt* of the Eualeyai/Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay people whose lands extended from New South Wales to southern Queensland.

Aunty Patsy Cameron, a descendant of the Pairebeenne Trawlwoolway clan in North East Tasmania, and Lisa Kennedy a descendant of the coastal Pairebeenne/Trawlwoolway clan.

Gregg Dreise, a Kamilaroi and Euahlayi author and illustrator from northwest NSW

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

Anita Heiss, a Wiradjuri woman from NSW

Robert Isaacs, an Aboriginal Elder from the Whadjuk-Bibilmum Wardandi Noongar language group, with Tanaz Byrami (2021)

Ambelin Kwaymullina, from the Palyku people of the Pilbara in Western Australia

Gay’wu Group of Women, consisting of Yolŋu women from north-east Arnhem Land in Australia’s far north, and non-Aboriginal women

Kerry Reed-Gilbert, a Wiradjuri woman from NSW

Ambelina Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, from the Palyku people of the Pilbara in Western Australia

Thomas Mayor, a Torres Strait Islander born on Larrakia Country in Darwin.

Kunyi June Anne McInerney whose family’s language group is Yankunytjatjara.

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

Bruce Pascoe, a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man

Leah Purcell, a Goa, Gunggari, Wakka Wakka Murri woman from Queensland.

Kim Scott of the Noongar people of the southern coast of Western Australia

Elfie Shiosaki, a Noongar and Yawuru writer from WA.

Nardi Simpson, a Yuwaalaray woman from the North West NSW freshwater plains

Cindy Solonec is a Nigena (Nyikina) woman from the West Kimberley.

Miranda Tapsell, a Larrakia woman from the Northern Territory

Adam Thompson, a pakana (Aboriginal) writer from Launceston, Tasmania

Margaret Tucker, born in NSW of Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta descent.

Ben Tyler, from the Bininj/Mungguy peoples and cultures of Kakadu, writing collaboratively with Diane Lucas and Emma Long

Ellen Van Neerven, a writer of Mununjali and Dutch heritage who identifies with the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim in Queensland

Karen Wyld, of Martu descent, from people of the Pilbara region in Western Australia

Maori and Pacific Authors

Tina Makerti, of Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Maniapoto descent.

Pauline Vaeluaga Smith, Samoan, Tuvaluan, Scottish and Irish descent

And from elsewhere…

Niviaq Korneliussen, an Inuit writer from Greenland

Further reading

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.


  1. […] Bookmark the page for Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers 2020 so that you can use the comments box there either […]


  2. […] Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week from 4-11 July 2021 […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

    Tasmanian@Bibliophile at Large (


  4. Hi Lisa, I just reviewed Adam Thompson’s short story collection ‘Born Into This’: and very good it was, too.


  5. Hi Lisa,
    Thought I would start with the books I’ve so far this year.
    Born into This (short stories)
    Homeland Calling (poetry)
    Throat (poetry)
    Hopefully I will get Benang finished and reviewed in the next week.


    • This is great, Brona, I’m only just back on deck after my weekend away but I will get cracking adding these to the reading list. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Today is the beginning of Indigenous Literature Week with Lisa @AnzLitLovers. […]


  7. Some thoughts on Benang by Kim Scott –


    • Thank you Brona, that’s a beautiful review:)
      I’ve added it above and to the Indigenous Reading List.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. […] was the start of Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) 2021 Indigenous Literature Week which coincides of course with NAIDOC Week, and, again, I’ve decided to contribute this […]


  9. As always I have devoted my Monday Musings of this week to ILW and NAIDOC. Here it is:


    • Thank you Sue, I will add this above, and also in the ‘Further Reading’ section of the Reading List, where all your MMs on Indigenous issues are listed!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. […] @ANZLitLovers hosts an Indigenous Literature Week to coincide with NAIDOC week. Lisa is careful to acknowledge that as ‘a non-Indigenous Australian, I am mindful that I do […]


  11. My annual Indigenous picture book post :-)

    Naidoc Week & Indigenous Picture Books


    • Wonderful, thank you Brona! I’ll add these to the Reviews page and to the Reading List.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Lisa, thanks for picking up on my review of The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke. I’ve also just written a review of Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen, an Inuit writer from Greenland:


    • Thanks Andrew, I’m back on deck after a bad day with a headache and will add this to the reviews page and the reading list.
      It’s great to have your contributions!


      • PS I couldn’t comment on your blog, but what you wrote about Greenlander identity resonated with me… I recently watched a Danish series called When the Dust Settles (about the aftermath of a terrorist attack) and one of the characters is a Greenlander living in Denmark. He feels survivor guilt because he is spared by the terrorists, and he thinks it’s because he doesn’t look Danish…


  13. […] author Adam Thompson’s Born into this earlier this year, I told him I’d save it for Lisa’s ILW 2021, which I did – and which means I can now thank him properly for a yet another well-chosen […]


  14. Hi Lisa, here finally is my review of Born into this: I hope to do one more on the weekend. and Nardi Simpson at the end of July.


  15. Hey Lisa, you may not be able to fix this right now, but the link to Kim’s review for Born into this breaks.


  16. […] took me several weeks to read Benang in preparation for Indigenous Literature Week. It was intense, demanding and confronting. I’m very grateful to have finally read it. It is […]


  17. One last one!
    After Story by Larissa Behrendt. Thanks for hosting this week again Lisa. It’s the prompt I need to focus on the Indigenous authors in my TBR pile.

    After Story | Larissa Behrendt #AWW


  18. In commemoration of Indigenous literature week, I read the novel Dawn Raid by new author, Pauline Vaeluaga Smith. This historical novel for young readers takes place in New Zealand (1976). Written in the form of diary entries, the story is centered on 13 year old protagonist name Sofia Christina Savea who gives insight on the impact of the dawn raids on Pasifika people. In several book reviews and video interviews with Smith, she is commended for capturing the adolescent voice and perspective of Sofia as well as the social and political events and activist groups, pop cultural references, and Maori and Samoan customs. The sketch-like illustrations by Mat Hunkin compliment the narrative is a dynamic way. Hunkin captures the physicality of the characters, sites, and facets of everyday life. In addition to the narrative, Smith provides a historical note with photographs and glossary of New Zealand English, Samoan, and Maori words. I appreciate the care that Smith and Hunkin took to create such an enriched and timely novel.

    Dawn Raid is geared towards upper primary and lower secondary grade readers. I highly recommend this novel for young and adult readers alike to read and glean a nuanced understanding of the dawn raids and how a young girl, her family, and community advocate for social justice.

    Recommended Resources:

    Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers Interview with Ms. Smith

    Dawn raids exhibition remembering New Zealand’s dark history (March 2021)

    1 News Story “Victim of dawn raids says it was like what happened to Jewish people in Holocaust” (June 14, 2021)


    • Thanks for this Sonia, I will add it to my #ILW post and pages when I’m back on deck.


    • Thanks for this, it’s great to have a contribution from NZ.
      However I’m uneasy about the comparison to the Holocaust. Whatever happened in these dawn raids was nothing like being forced into a cattle car with either slave labour or death camps as destination.


      • I understand your perspective on the speaker’s point. When I first heard it, it raised an eyebrow.


        • Yes. I understand the anger but people ought to be very careful with allusions like this. It’s usually ignorance, best rectified by reading some Holocaust literature.


  19. Hi Lisa. That list is already hugely impressive. I’ve just scraped into the week with my blog post about <Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, edited by Anita Heiss, on my bog Me Fail? I Fly! at


    • Wonderful, thanks Jonathan, I will add it to the #ILW post and pages as soon as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. […] (My third post for Lisa’s 2021 ILW Week.) […]


  21. My second review, and third post: Stan Grant’s On Thomas Keneally

    And, of course, Nardi Simpson will be coming at the end of the month.


  22. […] 2018, when I bought it at Red Kangaroo Books in Alice Springs. I decided to read it for Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week organised from July 5th to July 11th. Given my timeline, we’re still on July 11th when I write […]


  23. OK, I think I’ve harvested all the contributions added to comments here and included them both in this post and the reading list page/s, and I’ve fixed the broken link for Kim’s review of Born Into This. Please let me know if I’ve omitted anything!


    • Well done Lisa and thanks … a real labour of love that is so appreciated. This is becoming an excellent resource.


  24. […] For Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week, I read Benang by Kim Scott, After Story by Larissa Behrendt as well as putting together my annual Indigenous Picture Book post. To see all the reviews for this week, visit Lisa’s Review Page. […]


  25. Hi Lisa … I read Nardi Simpson’s Song of the crocodile for reading group:

    I linked it to your Indigenous Literature Reading List page so that readers can find all the reviews to date for it.


    • Thanks, Sue, I’ll add it in:)
      What a a wonderful book it is!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. […] to write a review if you want to take part. Or you can participate by reading and commenting on other people’s reviews for Indigenous Literature […]


  27. […] also took part in Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Indigenous Literature week, Bill’s (The Australian Legend) AWW Gen 3 Week Part 2, and Nonfiction November. More […]


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