Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Writers: Some Reading Suggestions

This list is offered as a source of reading ideas:

  • For those who would like to extend their knowledge of the context surrounding, and issues arising from, the upcoming Constitutional Referendum;
  • For those who would like to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and experiences;
  • For those who are interested to read the works of Indigenous writers; and,
  • For those who just want to enjoy a good read

Brief notes are provided to help you find your way to the reading you are interested in.


This section is divided into:

  • literature specifically about the Uluru Statement From the Heart and the upcoming referendum;
  • an account of the historical experiences of Aboriginal people in Tasmania. These experiences are further illuminated by the works appearing in the historical fiction section.
  • a series of memoirs. These offer insights into the many and varied experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers depending on their relationships with Country, culture, community and settler Australia. These experiences include growing up in family that did not identify as Aboriginal (Sally Morgan); growing up with family and Aboriginal identity (Vince Copley, Veronica Gorrie); growing up with family with strong cultural connection (Stan Grant, Deborah Danks); and stolen or fostered (Jack Charles, Archie Roach, Marie Munkara).
  • books providing knowledge about, and inviting understanding of, Indigenous knowledges, cultures and lifestyles.
  • Indigenous perspectives on racism and the Australian community.

The Uluru Statement and the Referendum

  • Megan Davis (2023). Voice of Reason: On recognition and renewal. Quarterly Essay 90
  • Megan Davis and George Williams (2021) Everything You Need to Know about the Uluru Statement From the Heart  UNSW Press
  • Thomas Mayor (2022) Finding the Heart of the Nation (2nd edition)  Hardie Grant
  • Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien (2023) The Voice to Parliament Handbook: All the detail you need  Hardie Grant

Historical biography

  • Joel Stephen Birnie (2022) My People’s Songs: How an Indigenous family survived colonial Tasmania  Monash


  • Jack Charles with Namila Benson (2019) Born-again Blakfella  Viking
  • Vince Copley with Lea McInerney (2022) The Wonder of Little Things  ABC Books
  • Debra Danks (2022) We Come With this Place  Echo Publishing.
  • Veronica Gorrie (2021) Black and Blue: a memoir of racism and resilience  Scribe
  • Stan Grant (2002) The Tears of Strangers  Harper Collins
  • Jackie Huggins and Rita Huggins (1994) Aunty Rita  Aboriginal Studies Press
  • Sally Morgan (1987) My Place  Freemantle Arts Centre Press
  • Marie Munkara (2016) Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea  Vintage Books
  • Archie Roach (2019) Tell Me Why: the story of my life and my music  Simon & Schuster

Cultural knowledge and experience

  • Gay’wu Group of Women (2019) Song Spirals: Sharing women’s wisdom of Country through Songlines  Allen & Unwin
  • Marcia Langton and Aaron Corn (2023) Law: the way of the Ancestors Margot Neale, ed. First Knowledges Series Thames & Hudson
  • Aileen Moreton-Robinson (2020) Talkin Up to the White Woman: Indigenous women and feminism (2nd Edition)
  • Margot Neale and Lynne Kelly (2020) Songlines: the power and promise Margot Neale, Ed.  First Knowledge Series Thames & Hudson
  • Bruce Pascoe (2014) Dark Emu  Magabala Books


  • Stan Grant (2019) Australia Day  Harper Collins
  • Chelsea Watego (2021) Another Day in the Colony  UQP (Essays)


The works of fiction have been divided into novels, short stories, poetry and plays.

Novels have been further divided into a general category; those set in a particular historical context (novels by Anita Heiss and Julie Janson are set in early New South Wales while Kim Scott’s are in Western Australia); and speculative fiction, which ranges somewhere between fantasy and science fiction but with an Indigenous twist.

Writing styles are as diverse as the writers themselves and themes range across the breadth of Indigenous experience. All titles come highly recommended. If you like a challenge, try Kim Scott, if you really like a challenge try Alexis Wright. The effort will be well worth it.


  • Tony Birch (2019) The White Girl  UQP
  • Jane Harrison (2015) Becoming Kirrali Lewis  Magabala Books
  • Jeanine Leane (2011) Purple Threads  UQP
  • Melissa Lucashenko (2018) Too Much Lip  UQP
  • Bruce Pascoe (2001) Earth  Magabala
  • Nardie Simpson (2020) Song of the Crocodile  Hachett
  • Tara June Winch (2019) The Yield  Hamish Hamilton
  • Alexis Wright (2006) Carpentaria  Giramondo.
  • Alexis Wright (2013) The Swan Book  Giramondo.
  • Alexis Wright (2023) Praiseworthy  Giramondo.
  • Karen Wyld (2020) Where the Fruit Falls  UWA


  • Anita Heiss (2022) Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray Simon & Schuster.
  • Julie Janson (2020) Benevolence  Magabala Books
  • Kim Scott (1999) Benang  Fremantle Press.
  • Kim Scott (2010) That Deadman Dance  Picador.
  • Kim Scott (2017) Taboo  Pan McMillan.


  • Claire Coleman (2017) Terra Nullius  Hachett
  • Ellen van Neeren (2014) Heat and Light  UQP
  • Mykaela Saunders, Ed. (2022) This All Come Back Now: An anthology of First Nations speculative fiction. UQP (Anthology)

Short stories and essays

  • Bruce Pascoe (2019) Salt  Black Ink Books


  • Evelyn Araluen (2022) Drop Bear  UQP
  • Tony Birch (2016) Broken Teeth  Cordite Books
  • Jeanine Leane (2018) Walk Back Over  Cordite Books
  • Oodgeroo (2021) My People (5th Edition)  Wiley
  • Elfie Shiosaki (2021) Homecoming  Magabala Books


  • Leah Purcell (2016) The Drover’s Wife  Currency Press