Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 15, 2021

2021 ASA Medal winner, Bruce Pascoe

News from the ASA (the Australian Society of Authors) today is that Bruce Pascoe, a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man, is the recipient of the 2021 ASA Medal.

From their statement at Facebook:

The Medal is offered to an Australian author/illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian culture, both as a creator & advocate.

In his acceptance speech Pascoe said, “I deeply appreciate the honour it is to receive this Medal from the Australian Society of Authors. It means a lot to me.

I thank writers and I thank artists, because we are burdened with the responsibility of making sure our story is told, and that it is told correctly, for the sake of our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and this great country, with its 120,000 years of history.

I know there’s anguish among writers considering writing about Aboriginal history. If you want to do this, Aboriginal people need to be known to you. The imprint of your lips needs to be on their cup, and theirs on yours…That’s the condition.”

If you want to know what he means by this, you could attend one of his workshops, as I have, courtesy of the Victorian Writers Centre, or you could read the Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectal Property 2020.

In recent times, Bruce is recognised primary as the author of Dark Emu, Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident  but he’s also a novelist.  I was impressed by Earth, which was published in 2001, and I read it for the 2015 Indigenous Literature Week.


  1. Yes, I saw this on the weekend, and that statement. I like it “The imprint of your lips needs to be on their cup, and theirs on yours…That’s the condition.” It’s not saying you can’t but you need to make the effort to engage and understand, and earn respect.


    • I think it’s interesting that this award is not just for creativity but also for advocacy.
      And of course, I like what he’s advocating…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a challenge that all conscious people on this land needs to heed. The reluctance has been far too long. Congratulations to him and his ilk who have a massive task ahead.


  3. This is great news! Dark Emu was one of the books I read when I first repatriated (on insistence from my dad) and it really opened my eyes to so much and changed my thinking about First Nations people.


    • That’s interesting about your dad… does he often recommend books to you?


      • Nah, it’s usually the other way around… but it might have been because I’d once moaned that my education in the 70s and 80s did not include a single thing about aboriginal history or culture. He’s a primary school teacher so what I said must have stuck 🤷🏻‍♀️


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