ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List

The annual Indigenous Literature Week will be back in July 2019.  Please sign up to indicate your interest on the post that announces it, not here, thanks.

Indigenous readers please be aware that this page contains the names of deceased persons.

Introduction: please read first:

As a non-indigenous Australian, I am mindful that I do not and cannot know or understand all aspects of indigenous Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori culture or experience, and I hope that nothing here gives offence or causes distress.  Within the limits of my opportunities for research, I have tried to create this page with good will and respect for the cultures included here.

Readers are warned that this page contains the names of deceased persons and may inadvertently use terminology that reflects attitudes or language used at the time of publication that are considered inappropriate today.

Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal LiteraturePlease also note that for the purposes of identifying these authors as indigenous, the nation/language group of Aboriginal authors has been included (where known) but it is beyond the scope of this page to include non-indigenous ancestral heritage as well.   My sources for biographical information have been the AustLit database BlackWords; the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature edited by Anita Heiss, Peter Minter and Nicholas Jose; and author and publisher websites.  For Maori writers I have relied on the NZ Book Council website.

Please also note that although there are contributions to this list from other readers in a variety of genres, my own contributions to this reading list are by intention confined to literary fiction i.e. literary novels and a few memoirs that I’ve read and reviewed on this blog – because that’s what I like to read.  Indigenous people write in a wide variety of genres and there is a wealth of fabulous work available, but it is beyond the scope of this blog to cover them all and literary fiction for adults is the primary focus of this LitBlog.  However, there is also a brief list of children’s books (mostly those I reviewed at my LisaHillSchoolStuff blog), and there are links to reviews by other contributors of poetry, drama, art and music near the end of this page.  For Aboriginal books in the list that I have not yet read myself, I have relied on a title’s classification at the AustLit database BlackWords, supplemented by my reading of extracts in the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature.  For the Maori list, I have relied on recommendations from others and my own limited knowledge.

For those interested in indigenous short stories, memoir, biography, history, poetry, drama, popular fiction including crime, YA (Young Adult) or children’s books, please visit

Also see reviews from participants in ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Literature Weeks, and gathered together in one place:

Many of the authors I’ve listed below have written more books than have been listed here, and to discover more, I also suggest a visit to GoodReads as a reliable user-friendly database (with reader reviews).

NB Some of these books are out of print.  Where I haven’t been able to find a supplier, I’ve linked to Fishpond where used copies sometimes crop up for sale, and which (even if the book is out-of-stock) provides the publishing information and ISBN to help with further hunting.  In Victoria, I also recommend using Z-portal to book an inter-library loan.  (Other states probably have something similar and if anyone can supply me with links for interstate portals I’ll add them.)  A Google search brings up copies available from AbeBooks and you can also search Brotherhood Books.

To keep up with new titles, UQP is a strong supporter of indigenous writers in Australia and their Black Australian Writing catalogue is well worth a look.   Another publisher worth checking out is Magabala Books Australia’s oldest indigenous publishing house.   Mademoiselle S from Twitter recommends Huia Publishers for Maori titles and I welcome more independent suggestions for New Zealand equivalents.

I welcome suggestions for additional authors and literary fiction titles.  Please provide as much information as you can in comments if you’d like to add to this list.

Last updated 5/6/19

Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Literary Fiction, YA, Memoir and Non-fiction

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

Ngarta Jinny Bent, with Jukuna Mona Chuguna of the the Walmajarri people of the Great Sandy Desert, south of the Kimberley in Western Australia

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

Hazel Brown, of the Noongar people of the southern coast of Western Australia

John Muk Muk Burke of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales

  • Bridge of Triangles Winner of the David Unaipon Award, 1993

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)

Jukuna Mona Chuguna with Ngarta Jinny Bent of the the Walmajarri people of the Great Sandy Desert, south of the Kimberley in Western Australia

Vivienne Cleven of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay people whose lands extended from New South Wales to southern Queensland.

  • Bitin’ Back, Shortlisted for the SA Premier’s Award, 2002, Winner of the David Unaipon Award, 2000
  • Her Sister’s Eye, Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, Prize for Indigenous Writing, 2004

Claire G Coleman who identifies with the South Coast Noongar people of Western Australia

Dylan Coleman, member of the Kokatha Mula Nation in the north of South Australia

 Paul Collis, a Barkindji man, from far western NSW on the Darling River.

Jack Davis, poet and dramatist of the Noongar people on the south coast of Western Australia, see

Editors Pat Dudgeon from the Bardi people of the Kimberley area in Western Australia, Jeannie Herbert, an Indigenous woman also born and raised in the Kimberley area and Darlene Oxenham, a Malgana woman from Shark Bay on the coast of Western Australia

Ali Cobby Eckermann who identifies with the Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha people from the north west desert country of South Australia

Lizzie Marrkilyi Ellis, of the Ngaatjatjarra, one of the language groups making up the Western Desert people of Central Australia

Stan Grant of Aboriginal ancestry from the Wiradjuri people in central New South Wales

Liz Hayden, an indigenous woman from Western Australia

Anita Heiss member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales

Rachel Hennessy, of Aboriginal descent

Rita Huggins, an elder and Jackie Huggins, of the Bidjara Central Queensland and Birri-Gubba Juru North Queensland peoples,

Terri Janke who is a Murri from Cairns and of Torres Strait descent with Meriam, Wuthathi & Yadaighana connections.

  • Butterfly Song (I enjoyed this when I read it before starting this blog)

Stephen Kinnane, a Miriuwung Marda-Marda man from the East Kimberley of Western Australia

Ruby Langford Ginibi, a Bundjalung woman from the North Coast of NSW

Kenny Laughton of the Arrernte people from the Central Australian lands centred on the township of Alice Springs (Mparntwe), extending to the east as far as Wallace Rock Hole, to the west to Watarrka (Kings Canyon) and as far as the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park.

  • Not Quite Men, No Longer Boys (This is ‘faction’ based on Laughton’s military experiences in Vietnam)

Jeanine Leane, a Wiradjuri woman of New South Wales.

Yami Lester, a Yankunytjatjara man from northern South Australia

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

Keelan Mailman, of the Bidjara people of Queensland, between Tambo and Augathella, Warrego and Langlo rivers.

Rosie Malezer, a Gubbi-Gubbi woman from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland

John Maynard, from the Worimi People of Port Stephens near Newcastle, co-author with Victoria Haskins

Philip McLaren, of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay people whose lands extended from New South Wales to southern Queensland.

Sue McPherson, of Wiradjuri (New South Wales) descent

Sally Morgan from the Palku (or Bailgu) people of the Pilbara in northern Western Australia

Mudrooroo a.k.a. Colin Johnson of the Narrogin people in Western Australia

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

Margo Neale, an Indigenous woman from Queensland, of Indigenous and Irish descent

Bill Neidje, an Elder of the Kakadu in the Northern Territory and the last remaining speaker of the Gaagudju language

Oodgeroo Noonuccal a.k.a. Kath Walker of the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island, Queensland

NT Writers Centre

  • This Country Anytime Anywhere, IADPress,  featuring works by emerging writers as well as many winners of Northern Territory literary awards, including Marie Munkara, winner of the 2008 David Unaipon Award for Every Secret Thing (also judged the 2010 Northern Territory Book of the Year Award).

Siv Palmer from the Yuwallaraay Aboriginal Nation in far west New South Wales.

Bruce Pascoe of the Bunurong people in Victoria

Noel Pearson of Bagaarrmugu and Guggu Yalanji descent, and Shireen Morris

Doris Pilkington Garimara, of the Martu people in the Western Desert within the Pilbara region

Boori Monty Prior, descended from the Kunggandji people of Queensland and the Birri-Gubba people of the Whitsunday Islands.

Wenten Rubuntja , an Arrernte man from Central Australia

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

Jared Thomas of the Nukunu/Nuguna people of South Australia in the Spencer Gulf region.

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

Sam Watson of the Birri-Gubba Juru/Munaldjali people of southeast Queensland

  • The Kadaitcha Sung (I can’t find this anywhere, not even in a library. It’s very frustrating because the excerpt in the Macquarie PEN Anthology looks so tempting!)

Herb Wharton born in Yumba, an Aboriginal camp in the south-western Queensland town of Cunnamulla

  • Unbranded (Black Australian Writers)

Lesley Williams a Murri Elder, and Tammy Williams, a Murri woman. Murri lands extend across New South Wales and Queensland.

Tara June Winch of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales.

Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung, descended from the Mbaiwum/Trotj and Alngith/Liningithi Wikway Nations of Western Cape York

Waipuldanya, a.k.a. Phillip Roberts, of the Alawa people from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, as told to Douglas Lockwood

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


Arapera Blank, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu descent, and winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award in 1959

  • For Someone I Love: A Collection of Writing by Arapera Blank

Lisa Cherrington of  Maori, Niuean, Samoan, Irish and Danish descent

  • The People-Faces

Alan Duff of Ngāti Rangitihi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent

  • Once Were Warriors (1990, Once Were Warriors Trilogy #1),
  • One Night Out Stealing (1991)
  • What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? (1996, Once Were Warriors Trilogy #2) (On my TBR)
  • Jake’s Long Shadow (2002, Once Were Warriors Trilogy #3)
  • Who Sings for Lu? (2009)
  • Dreamboat Dad (2008)

James George of Nga Puhi descent (recommended by Mademoiselle S)

  • Ocean Roads
  • Hummingbird

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

Whiti Hereaka of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa descent

  • The Graphologist’s Apprentice shortlisted for First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Asia/Pacific region) 2011.

Keri Hulme of Kai Tahu, Kāti Mamoe descent

  • The Bone People (I read this when it won the 1985 Booker Prize, an unforgettable novel )

Witi Ihimaera of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki descent

  • The Parihaka Woman, (2011) recommended by Helen NZ of the ANZ LitLovers online reading group
  • The Uncle’s Story (2002) (on my TBR)
  • Bulibasha (1994)
  • The Dream Swimmer (1997) (on my TBR)
  • The Whale Rider (1987)
  • Pounamu, Pounamu (Popular Penguins) (1972)
  • Nights in the Gardens of Spain (1995)
  • ‘I’ve Been Thinking About You Sister’ (short story)

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

  • Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa, recommended by Mademoiselle S via Twitter, who also suggests Alice Tawhai and James George, Paula Morris and Kelly Ana Morey
  • Where The Rekohu Bone Sings (2014),

Kelly Ana Morey of Ngati Kuri descent

Paula Morris of Ngati Wai descent

Alice Tawhai of Tainui and Nga Puhi  descent (recommended by Mademoiselle S)

  • Festival of Miracles
  • Luminous
  • Dark Jelly

For more information about Maori writers visit the NZ Book Council.

Huia Publishers specialises in Maori authors, and Fishpond (NZ) have a wide range as well.    (Sometimes they have second-hand copies of out-of-print editions).  Links above are all to Fishpond Australia but I think they work for Kiwis just the same.

Pacific Islands

Thanks to Sandra and to Mademoiselle S for these contributions.

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell  of NZ/Cook Island descent

  • The Frigate Bird, novel, regional finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize
  • Sidewinder
  • Tia
  • Fantasy with Witches

Sia Figiel from Samoa

  • Where We Once Belonged 1997 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Best First Book for the South East Asia-South Pacific regions
  • They Who Do Not Grieve
  • Freelove (2016)

John Puhiatau Pule, an artist/novelist born in Niue and living in Auckland, New Zealand.  His books are hard to find.

  • The Shark that Ate the Sun
  • Burn My Head in Heaven
  • Restless people

Albert Wendt, from Samoa, see also the NZ Book Council

  • The Adventures of Vela

Lani Wendt-Young (born in Apia, Samoa) is a published author living in Auckland, New Zealand. Follow the links from her Sleepless in Samoa blog to buy the books.

  • Telesa – The Covenant Keeper.
  • When Water Burns
  • The Bone Bearer
  • I am Daniel Tahi
  • Scarlet Lies
  • Scarlet Secrets
  • Afakasi Woman (A Collection of Short Fiction)
  • Pacific Tsunami – Galu Afi.

And from elsewhere round the world…

Sherman Alexis,  a Native American with ancestry from several tribes. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Bernardo Atxaga of the Basque region of Spain

Beatrice Culleton, of the Métis people in Canada,

Louise Edrich of Ojibwe (American Indian) descent

Lee Maracle of the Canadian Coast Salish people,

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

There, There   see Becky’s review at Becky’s Books and my ANZ LitLovers review

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg ancestry in Canada,

Kirmen Uribe of the Basque region of Spain,

Ken Saro-Wiwa, a member of the Ogoni people of Nigeria

Children’s Books

(All these reviews are on my professional blog, LisaHillSchoolStuff.

Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, a Senior Wurundjeri elder of the Kulin alliance in Victoria, and Lisa Kennedy, a Trawlwoolway story teller and artist and a descendant of Woretemoeteyenner from North East Tasmania

Indigenous Drama

Jack Davis, poet and dramatist of the Noongar people, see

Andrea James a Yorta Yorta/Kurnai playwright, director and theatre maker

Indigenous Poetry

Marino Blank, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu and Swiss descent

  • Crimson (a collection of poetry)

Ali Cobby Eckermann who identifies with the Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha people from the north west desert country of South Australia

Natalie Harkin, a Narungga woman from South Australia

  • Dirty Words

Brenda Saunders, artist and writer of Wiradjuri and British descent.

  • Looking for Bullin Bullin

Leanne Simpson, a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg woman from Canada

  • Islands of Decolonial Love

Alison Whittaker, a Gomeroi woman from Gunnedah and Tamworth, north-western New South Wales

  • Lemons in the Chicken Wire

Indigenous Art

Book review: Meerreeng-an: Here is My Country, edited by Chris Keeler and Vicki Couzens

Indigenous Music

  • Gurrumul: His Life and Music, by Robert Hillman (with poetry and song by Gurrumul, a Yolnu man), see my review

Thanks to everyone for their helpful suggestions for this list.

Further reading

Essential readings in history include

Tasmanian Aborigines, a History since 1803 by Lyndall Ryan,

‘Me Write Myself’, the Free Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Dieman’s Land at Wybalenna 1832-47, by Leonie Stevens.  This book is ground-breaking because it tells the story of these Aborigines using their own words from original sources.

Via Mx Keira @khuolohan, these are recommendations for those interested in further explorations at an academic level.

  • Sovereign Subjects, Indigenous Sovereignty Matters by Aileen Moreton-Robinson of the Goenpul tribe, part of the Quandamooka nation on Stradbroke Island in Queensland
  • Decolonising Methodologies, Research and Indigenous Peoples, by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou, Māori
  • Indigenous Writes, a Guide to First Nations by Chelsea Vowel, a Métis writer and lawyer from near Lac Ste


  1. Here’s a link from Lani Wendt-Young’s blog on how to buy her book!/p/books-fiction.html


    • Hi Sandra, as you can see I’ve been busy adding your suggestions to this list, and (behind the scenes) I’ve also drafted a new post inviting people to join in. I still have to tidy that up a bit before I schedule it for publication. Your help has been invaluable, and what a temptation your suggestions have been, if I weren’t recovering from the purchase of solar panels for my roof, I’d be lashing out and buying the lot!


  2. Albert Wendt’s best-known books (still) are

    Sons for the Return Home, available from Amazon and Google books, published in 1973 (I saw the movie when I was at secondary school, screened as a social studies lesson on racism)

    LH: link to Amazon deleted here because of a huge image!

    Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree (short stories and a novella), published in 1974, from the same sources as above.

    The Adventures of Vela, written in epic poem form, won the Best Novel Award for the South East Asia and Pacific region in the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2010.

    BTW, all these Samoan writers I’ve suggested are “western” Samoans who either live in Samoa or NZ. I don’t know about the literary scene in American Samoa.

    Happy to have helped.


  3. Oops, sorry about the big cover image. Feel free to delete.


    • Thanks, Sandra, I have deleted it, mainly because I try to keep all images here small and easy to load. Having spent my summer holiday in the Hunter Valley I know how frustrating slow bush internet connections are!


  4. Hi Lisa – I’ll read Jake’s Long Shadow. I read the first two in the trilogy years ago and found them very powerful. I’ll read the third!!

    So I don’t sign up to Mr Linky as I don’t have a blog or anything??



  5. […] Show your support by signing up on the ANZ LitLovers page and start reading.  Lisa Hill has made a list of literature written by indigenous authors that you can choose from. For those who prefer non-fiction, I have compiled a list of histories and […]


  6. […] writing Fantasy, SciFi or Speculative Fiction.) Alternatively, please join Lisa Hill and others at ANZ LitLovers blog for Indigenous Literature Week, even if it’s only to read and comment on their […]


  7. […] to generate a reading list to inspire you.  For reasons of space and time and personal preference  my reading list is limited to literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and New Zealand au… but participants are free to choose any form you like – short story, memoir, biography, […]


  8. […] 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 master Indigenous Reading List. […]


  9. […] I had an email from Magabala Books during the week to let me know about a couple of titles to include in the Indigenous Authors Reading List. […]


  10. […] a reading list for contributors wanting to read adult books at ANZ LitLovers and Emma from My Book Corner has kindly shared her list of indigenous literature resources for […]


  11. Great list! Kelly Ana Morey’s “Bloom” should definitely figure here though, as well as Anita Heiss’s “I’m Not Racist But…”. Also Lisa Cherrington’s “The People-Faces” (NZ) and Sally Morgan’s “My Place” (OZ) deserve a read.


    • Thank you, Ju:) I will add them to the list.


  12. […] 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 master Indigenous Reading List. […]


  13. […] 2012 and 2013 the reading list is growing. For reasons of space and time and personal preference my ANZ LitLovers reading list is limited to literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and Ne… but participants are free to choose any form you like – short story, memoir, biography, […]


  14. […] will also try to update the resources page when new books come to my attention.  You might like to bookmark this page because you can also […]


  15. […] May 4th: I’ve constructed a page listing suggested literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and New Zealand authors.  The permanent link is on the ANZLL Books You Must Read page in the top menu, and you can also […]


  16. […] reviews readers have contributed have all been added to this site’s database of indigenous reading resources.  This database continues to grow -including everything from children’s books to YA; […]


  17. […] When you’ve finished the book, come back and comment on the Reviews from Indigenous Literature page and then I’ll add it to the  reading list. […]


  18. […] You can find reading ideas on book lists here and here and here. […]


  19. Great resource. Here’s a complete list of my books with links to where readers can purchase them in either ebook or paperback format.
    1. Telesa
    2. When Water Burns
    3. The Bone Bearer
    4. I am Daniel Tahi
    5. Scarlet Lies
    6. Scarlet Secrets
    7. Afakasi Woman (A Collection of Short Fiction)
    8. Pacific Tsunami – Galu Afi.

    [LH} Lani’s About page on her blog has links to booksellers for all these books:


    • Thanks for getting in touch, Lani. I’ve added these books to the list above with a link to the booksellers on your blog (because, sorry, I don’t like to advertise Amazon on my blog!)


  20. […] out the indigenous literary foundation site and the article by our wonderful local book reviewer Lisa Hill of ANZLit Blog fame, a personal friend, and a Mordialloc writer of […]


  21. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  22. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  23. Please add Samoan author Sia Figiel’s latest novel “Freelove” published in 2016 to the list! She rocks! Also, Maori author Tina Makereti’s “Where The Rekohu Bone Sings” (2014) needs to be on that list, me thinks.


    • Thanks, BronteSista, I’ve added them both.


  24. […] authors and authors from diverse backgrounds. Each year I participate in Lisa Hill’s ‘Indigenous Literature Week’ which she hosts during NAIDOC Week. But reading indigenous authors should not be a once a year […]


  25. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  26. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  27. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  28. […] past (personal favourites  Jack Davis and Oodgeroo Noonuccal ) and also the present. Check out Lisa Hill’s Indigenous Literature list for diverse voices and different lived experiences. James Baldwin said: Not everything that is […]


  29. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  30. […] see also: Sue at Whispering Gum’s review of Carpentaria (here) my review of Alexis Wright, The Swan Book (here) Lisa at ANZLL’s Indigenous Reading list (here) […]


  31. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  32. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  33. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  34. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  35. Black Cockatoo- Magabala Books- Hakea Hustler and Carl Merrison 2018

    A authentic story of a young girl growing up in the Kimberley- struggling to find her place and her spirit.


    • Thank you for contributing this: I hunted it out at Magabala books and it says it’s a children’s or YA book, so I’ll put it in both:)


  36. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  37. […] by others. Meanwhile, if you’re interested but can’t join a group, there’s always Lisa (ANZLitLovers)’s Indigenous Reading Week. From little things, big things grow – […]


  38. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


  39. […] ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List […]


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: