Born: Established: 1968 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Dr Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales. She grew up in Sydney and after graduating with Honours in History she worked for two years as editor of Aboriginal projects at Streetwise Comics.
In 2001 she became the first Indigenous student to graduate with a PhD from the University of Western Sydney. Her PhD was published as Dhuuluu-Yala [To Talk Straight]: Publishing Indigenous LiteratureHS) (2003). In 2002 she was awarded the New South Wales Premier's History Prize (audio-visual category) for the creation of the website Barani : The Aboriginal History of the City of Sydney.
Heiss has performed at many festivals nationally (Sydney Writers Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Writers Week, Byron Bay Writers Festival, Message Sticks, Brisbane Writers Festival among others) and internationally in Spain, Austria, the USA, Canada, Fiji, Japan and New Caledonia. She has also been published widely in journals, anthologies and online.
In 2003, in recognition of her literary achievements, Heiss was awarded the ASA Medal for Under 35s for her contribution to Australian community and public life and in 2004 she was awarded the NSW Indigenous Arts Fellowship. She was also listed in the Bulletin magazine's Microsoft 'Smart 100'. In the same year Anita was nominated for a Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature.
In 2004, Heiss wrote and directed her first short film, 'Checkerboard Love' as part of the Lester Bostock mentorship program through Metro Screen, Sydney.
Heiss is the founding co-ordinator of AustLit's Black Words: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers subset. She was Communications Adviser for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, a member of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Committee of Management and Chaired the organisation. She was Deputy Director of Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University from and has been on the Board of Directors for Gadigal Information Service / Koori Radio in Sydney. Hiess has also served as an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador, a Books in Homes Ambassador, as a Board Member of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy, an Adjunct Professor at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney, and the patron of the Alliance of Girls' Schools of Australia.
Heiss has made guest appearances on television shows including The Einstein Factor, Message Stick, Vulture, Critical Mass, A Difference of Opinion, The Catch Up, Living Black, The Gathering (NITV), 9am with David and Kim and The Circle.
'On Whose Authority with Melissa Lucashenko, Jacqueline Wright and Dr Anita Heiss.', presenter Rhianna Patrick on Speaking Out, ABC Local, website, Sunday 22 September 2013.
'Some of the best, most significant writing produced in Australia over more than two centuries is gathered in this landmark anthology. Covering all genres - from fiction, poetry and drama to diaries, letters, essays and speeches - the anthology maps the development of one of the great literatures in English in all its energy and variety.
'The writing reflects the diverse experiences of Australians in their encounter with their extraordinary environment and with themselves. This is literature of struggle, conflict and creative survival. It is literature of lives lived at the extremes, of frontiers between cultures, of new dimensions of experience, where imagination expands.
'This rich, informative and entertaining collection charts the formation of an Australian voice that draws inventively on Indigenous words, migrant speech and slang, with a cheeky, subversive humour always to the fore. For the first time, Aboriginal writings are interleaved with other English-language writings throughout - from Bennelong's 1796 letter to the contemporary flowering of Indigenous fiction and poetry - setting up an exchange that reveals Australian history in stark new ways.
'From vivid settler accounts to haunting gothic tales, from raw protest to feisty urban satire and playful literary experiment, from passionate love poetry to moving memoir, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature reflects the creative eloquence of a society.
'Chosen by a team of expert editors, who have provided illuminating essays about their selections, and with more than 500 works from over 300 authors, it is an authoritative survey and a rich world of reading to be enjoyed.' (Publisher's blurb)
Allen and Unwin have a YouTube channel with a number of useful videos on the Anthology.
'An authoritative survey of Australian Aboriginal writing over two centuries, across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Including some of the most distinctive writing produced in Australia, it offers rich insights into Aboriginal culture and experience...
'The anthology includes journalism, petitions and political letters from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as major works that reflect the blossoming of Aboriginal poetry, prose and drama from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Literature has been used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders them largely voiceless. These works chronicle the ongoing suffering of dispossession, but also the resilience of Aboriginal people across the country, and the hope and joy in their lives.' (Publisher's blurb)