Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 13, 2022

Anita Heiss awarded AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

I am delighted to share the news that Wiradjuri woman Professor Anita Heiss has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to tertiary Indigenous Studies & the Arts.

Anita and I enjoyed a wine together at the Non Fiction festival in Geelong in 2018.  She was at the festival to give a keynote speech the next day and the hotel bar was packed with authors and one of them asked me if I was interviewing Anita.  But no, we were just  turning Twitter exchanges into a prearranged f2f meetup, and it was a warm and friendly conversation, albeit with a woman who had become one of my literary heroes ever since I first read Am I Black Enough For You? (Which has just been revised and reissued for its 10th anniversary.)

Anita was the first in her family to go to university, and the first Aboriginal person to graduate with a PhD from the University of Western Sydney.  She is the author of nineteen books across multiple genres, including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction (which she has dubbed Choc-Lit), poetry, children’s books, social commentary and travel articles. Some of these award-winning titles are reviewed on this blog:

A quick look at Anita’s website offers a glimpse of this amazing woman’s work.  A leader in so many fields, Anita is an advocate for Indigenous Australian literature and literacy and a lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.  Her work ranges from remote communities where she is a role model, encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories, to the international stage where she performs her own work and and lectures on Aboriginal literature at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany and New Zealand.  She is a proud Ambassador of Worawa Aboriginal College, the GO Foundation and the Sydney Swans, and she’s on the Board of the University of Queensland Press, Circa Contemporary Theatre and the National Justice Project.

She runs marathons too!

I’ll finish with Anita’s latest tweet, commenting on the award…

Mandaang Guwu for everything you do, Anita!


  1. She’s certainly a wonderful and articulate advocate. I’ve read and reviewed a few of her books too, and plan to add Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray in July.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always nice when someone you actually know gets one of these awards, and it’s always nice when they get it right.
      (I will not spoil the day by specifying some recent awards that did not get it right.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh thank you for this, Lisa. I regularly read Native American lit and I’ll see if I can find some good Indigenous lit. I think it’s been a could years since I did that. Most recently I read (and recd about Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – nonfiction.


  3. She is an author I’d like to read more of. It is always lovely when writers get recognised and she doesn’t even play on an AFL team!! Lovely tribute to her.


    • Ha ha, love the crack about the AFL, she’s such an authentic person, she’d love it too.


  4. Terrific news!


  5. Yay 👏👏👏 Congratulations to her!


  6. Thank you so much Lisa for all your support over the years. It does not go unnoticed X


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