Thanks to our supporters for more book recommendations, happy to hear your thoughts, and in particular thanks to Leanne De Souza for most of these suggestions below.
A searing new novel from leading Indigenous storyteller Tony Birch that explores the lengths we will go to in order to save the people we love. Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves. In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.
‘There are books you encounter as an adult that you wish you could press into the hands of your younger self. Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray is one of those books – a novel that turns Australia’s long-mythologised settler history into a raw and resilient heartsong.’ – Guardian
The powerful Murrumbidgee River surges through town leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is a stark reminder that while the river can give life, it can just as easily take it away.
Wagadhaany is one of the lucky ones. She survives. But is her life now better than the fate she escaped? Forced to move away from her miyagan, she walks through each day with no trace of dance in her step, her broken heart forever calling her back home to Gundagai.
When she meets Wiradyuri stockman Yindyamarra, Wagadhaany’s heart slowly begins to heal. But still, she dreams of a better life, away from the degradation of being owned. She longs to set out along the river of her ancestors, in search of lost family and country. Can she find the courage to defy the White man’s law? And if she does, will it bring hope … or heartache?
Set on timeless Wiradyuri country, where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) is an epic story of love, loss and belonging.
Irreverent and courageous, Throat is a fierce cry that fights to be heard. This is van Neerven’s most powerful work yet.
not in Aus, mate
bad things don’t happen here
our beaches are open
they are not places where bloodied mattresses burn
Throat is the explosive second poetry collection from award-winning Mununjali Yugambeh writer Ellen van Neerven. Exploring love, language and land, van Neerven flexes their distinctive muscles and shines a light on Australia’s unreconciled past and precarious present with humour and heart. Van Neerven is unsparing in the interrogation of colonial impulse, and fiercely loyal to telling the stories that make us who we are.
A ground-breaking work – and a call to arms – that exposes the ongoing colonial violence experienced by First Nations people.
In this collection of deeply insightful and powerful essays, Chelsea Watego examines the ongoing and daily racism faced by First Nations peoples in so-called Australia. Rather than offer yet another account of ‘the Aboriginal problem’, she theorises a strategy for living in a society that has only ever imagined Indigenous peoples as destined to die out.
Drawing on her own experiences and observations of the operations of the colony, she exposes the lies that settlers tell about Indigenous people. In refusing such stories, Chelsea narrates her own- fierce, personal, sometimes funny, sometimes anguished. She speaks not of fighting back but of standing her ground against colonialism in academia, in court and in the media. It’s a stance that takes its toll on relationships, career prospects and even the body.
Yet when told to have hope, Watego’s response rings clear- Fuck hope. Be sovereign.
A deeply personal exploration of Australia’s colonisation past, present and future by one of Australia’s finest contemporary authors
This is a difficult piece to write. It cuts closer to the bone than most of what I have written; closer to my bones, through my blood and flesh to the bones of truth and country; there is truth here, not disguised but in the open and that truth hurts.
In Lies, Damned Lies acclaimed author Claire G. Coleman, a proud Noongar woman, takes the reader on a journey through the past, present and future of Australia, lensed through her own experience. Beautifully written, this literary work blends the personal with the political, offering readers an insight into the stark reality of the ongoing trauma of Australia’s violent colonisation.
Colonisation in Australia is not over. Colonisation is a process, not an event – and the after-effects will continue while there are still people to remember it.
Praise for Claire G. Coleman
‘An urgent examination of oneself and one’s country. Written with a booming cadence that demands to be read aloud, again and again.’ – Tara June Winch, Miles Franklin Award winning author of The Yield
‘You may think you’re woke, but Coleman never sleeps.’ – Dr Tyson Yunkaporta, bestselling author of Sand Talk
What happens when global systems are viewed from an Indigenous perspective? How does it affect the way we see history, money, power and learning? Could it change the world?
This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schr dinger’s cat.
Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently?
Sand Talk provides a template for living. It’s about how lines and symbols and shapes can help us make sense of the world. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about talking to everybody and listening carefully. It’s about finding different ways to look at things.
Most of all it’s about Indigenous thinking, and how it can save the world.