Are you interested in exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences in historical and contemporary settings through great books, films, documentaries and other stories?
We invite you to join UQ’s BlackWords Book Club (formerly Stories for Reconciliation Club)
The group has no political or religious affiliations and people from all backgrounds with an interest in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories expanding their knowledge and understanding of current and historical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences are welcome.
We get together a few times a year to discuss a story that has relevance to Indigenous experience in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Explore the information on the pages linked on the left and contact us for details on how to access more of AustLit and BlackWords.
My story is about the one thing that I never went without. Love. Big love, that filled me up and made me feel like there was a future for me. The kind of love that's unconditional, and that lasts across time and space ...
'From the moment Brooke Blurton appeared on Australian television, she dazzled audiences with her authenticity, self-knowledge, generosity and honesty.(...more)
'Great-Grandpa Liman lives in a small house by the sea. There are no lights - just stars as far as the eye can see.
'Brother Moon is a powerful story lovingly told by a great-grandfather to his great-grandson. Beneath the dark sky of the Northern Territory, Hippy-Boy is captivated when Great-Grandpa Liman tells him the mysterious story of his brother and how it guides his connection to Country.
'Great-Grandpa is a masterful storyteller and, as the tale unfolds, he finally reveals his brother is the moon - a wonder of the universe.(...more)
'When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and give her mother an inspiring break from the difficult life she has endured.
'Twenty-five years earlier the abduction and murder of Jasmine’s sister shocked and broke their tight-knit community in northern NSW. The legacy of losing their sister and daughter follows Jasmine and Della as they visit the homes of English literary greats such as Thomas Hardy, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, with Jasmine hoping to escape the challenges of the life she has carved for herself and Della, reflecting on the rich stories of her own life and people.(...more)
'A heartwarming queer Indigenous Own Voices love story, from a startlingly talented debut author.
'Seventeen-year-old Jackson is living with his family on the Mish (former Aboriginal mission), hanging out with his mates, having problems with his girlfriend, teasing the tourists, and avoiding the racist boys in town. Jackson’s Aunty and cousins are visiting from the city for the summer holidays again. And this time Tomas, a mysterious boy, has come with them.(...more)
'An exquisite portrait of growing up Aboriginal on the fringes of outback towns in New South Wales in the mid-twentieth century. The Cherry Picker’s Daughter is a window into the day-to-day lived experience, a profound insight into the extraordinary strength, resilience and ingenuity of Aboriginal families, of women in particular, to survive and overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity: extreme poverty, persecution, racism and cultural genocide.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.(...more)
Oodgeroo (meaning 'paperbark tree') of the Noonuccal people of Stradbroke Island was known as Kath Walker until she returned to her language name in 1988 as a sign of protest against Australia's Bicentenary celebrations and as a symbol of pride in an Aboriginal heritage.
Brought up on North Stradbroke Island east of Brisbane, Oodgeroo Noonuccal was educated at Dunwich State School until the age of thirteen and then became a domestic servant.
'Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.
'Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.
'Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border.(...more)
Tarena Shaw has just finished her Law degree but isn't sure if she wants to be a lawyer after all. What place does a black lawyer have in a white system? Does everyone in Sydney feel like a turtle without a shell? Drawn to Thursday Island, the home of her grandparents, Tarena is persuaded by her family to take on her first case. Part of the evidence is a man with a guitar and a very special song... Butterfly Song moves from the pearling days in the Torres Strait to the ebb and flow of big city life, with a warm and funny modern heroine whose story reaches across cultures.(...more)
'As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day.
'Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream.(...more)
'What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, attempts to showcase as many diverse voices, experiences and stories as possible in order to answer that question. Each account reveals, to some degree, the impacts of invasion and colonisation – on language, on country, on ways of life, and on how people are treated daily in the community, the education system, the workplace and friendship groups.
'Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities.(...more)
'From the cops and the crocs of 1960s Palm Island to the blood-spattered dance floors of Melbourne in the '70s, Wrong Kind of Black is the personal story of Boori Monty Pryor (Clarence Ryan, in a career-making performance) and his brother Paul (Aaron McGrath). This four part high end digital drama comedy series brings a rare perspective to a tumultuous era in Australia’s history, one that resonates just as strongly today.
'At the height of the ‘70s disco inferno, Monty is Melbourne’s hottest DJ.(...more)
'Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) is assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two young farm hands on an outback cattle station. One is a local Indigenous footy hero, and the other a backpacker. Working with local cop Emma James (Judy Davis), Jay’s investigation uncovers a past injustice that threatens the fabric of the whole community.'
Source: Screen Australia (https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/media-centre/news/2017/07-12-mystery-road-series).(...more)
'From Kim Scott, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, comes a work charged with ambition and poetry, in equal parts brutal, mysterious and idealistic, about a young woman cast into a drama that has been playing for over two hundred years ...
'Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar's descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman.(...more)
'This is the compelling story of how the skull of an Aboriginal man, found on the banks of the Murray River over 40 years ago, came to be returned to his Wamba Wamba descendants. It is a story of awakening, atonement, forgiveness and friendship. "It is as if a whole window into Indigenous culture has blown open, not just the window, but every door in the house," says John Danalis.
'Part history, part detective story, part cultural discovery and emotional journey, this is a book for young and old, showing the transformative and healing power of true reconciliation.(...more)
Behrendt, Larissa. 'Censorship Today, Censorship Tomorrow'. Keynote address, Melbourne Writers Festival, 2013.
Winners vanquish losers; we all know they write history. But each instance of conquest has its own historical peculiarities, its own legacies.
A transcript of Behrendt's keynote address about the different challenges of writing from within and without the dominant culture, and what it means even when an author fails.
Birch, Tony. 'Too Many Australians Remain Ignorant of Aboriginal Writing', The Guardian, 31 August 2013.
It is rare for an event concerned with Aboriginal writing to pass without the question coming from the floor; 'Can non-Aboriginal people write an Aboriginal character?'
Based on a keynote address from the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2013, this essay by Birch considers the extent to which Aboriginal writing is at best overlooked (and at worst invisible) in the Australian literary marketplace.
Grant, Stan. 'The Politics of Identity: We Are Trapped in the Imaginations of White Australians', The Guardian, 14 December 2015.
Some of us are bound in our own paradox; our sense of ourselves rooted in traditions or history or suffering may sit awkwardly with the realities of our increasingly cosmopolitan, middle class, suburban lives.
Beginning specifically with Indigenous experience of belonging and isolation in Australia, Grant expands his analysis to take in the whole of the ' increasingly homogenised and globalised world'.
Nolan, Maggie. 'Reading Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance: Book Clubs and Postcolonial Literary Theory', JASAL vol. 16, no. 2, 2016.
In undertaking research with book clubs, it has become clear how little currency contemporary postcolonial approaches in literary studies have among book club readers.
An academic article that examines the ways in which book clubs approach Kim Scott's novel of cross-cultural contact, including a book club with a special focus on issues of reconciliation.
Pascoe, Bruce. 'Andrew Bolt's Disappointment'. Griffith Review, vol. 36, 2012.
I had been hoping they would be delighted by the story but it offends or embarrasses them that they have never heard of it.
Written between the legal proceedings brought against Andrew Bolt for a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act and Pascoe's publication of Dark Emu, this essay straddles the two, discussing Aboriginal identity and culture and how they are both maintained and erased.
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