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About BlackWords

(Status : Public)
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
  • What can I find in BlackWords?

    BlackWords provides:

    – biographical records for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers

    – records for published and unpublished works of creative writing and storytelling

    – information about publishers, theatre groups, and other cultural groups

    – information on works relating to Indigenous cultures or literatures

    – collections of full text

    Visit the BlackWords project page at 

  • How to Search BlackWords

    The slideshow below walks you through how to search for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and works.

  • How to Find Teaching Resources in BlackWords

    There are a number of ways to find useful teaching resources for BlackWords in AustLit:

    Access the'Teaching with BlackWords' menu on the left to discover classroom ideas, lesson plans, professional development opportunities, and tips to expand your knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytelling.

    Search for BlackWords records with linked search results, via the Advanced Search page. Simply select 'BlackWords' under the Projects tab, and then select 'Teaching resources available' from 'Work' on the right hand side. You can explore the results with additional filters. Or, simply view the search results here.  

    Explore the BlackWords homepage to discover additional resources, research projects, essays, author interviews an more! 

  • Explore Further

    As well as the rich biographical and bibliographical records in the BlackWords database, BlackWords also includes ancillary materials such as teaching resources, information trails, and interviews.

    To explore BlackWords in its entirety, visit the homepage.

    Or click on a tile below to see hand-picked links to specific resources.

  • BlackWords Full Text

    AustLit has a wide variety of full text content that is useful for teachers, readers, and writers, provides access to over 87,000 full text items.

    Primary Sources:

    BlackWords poetry: a list of poems by BlackWords writers, including the full text of the poem/s.

    BlackWords short stories: a list of short stories by BlackWords writers, including the full text of the story/ies.

    BlackWords film / television: the content available for film and television varies from the full work to curated clips via the National Film and Sound Archive.

    See also 

    Picture Books 

    Dreaming Story

    Indigenous story

    Secondary Sources:

    BlackWords in the National Curriculum: Dr Jeanine Leane's essay provides guidance on embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in teaching.

    The BlackWords Essays: a collection of essays produced for teachers, students, researchers, and readers by Dr Anita Heiss.

    The BlackWords Interviews: a collection of twenty interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, carried out in late 2013.

    Courting Blakness : Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University: a rich resource of material exploring the ways that art can challenge and make us think about knowledge, history, story. Includes essays, articles, video, and images.

    The BlackWords Symposium: a collection of essays by leading Indigenous writers published by the Journal for the Association for the Study of Australian Literature in 2014.

    Full-text criticism (1): a list of critical works by BlackWords writers, available in full text via AustLit.

    Full-text criticism (2): a list of critical works about BlackWords writers and works, available in full text via AustLit.

    View all BlackWords full text

    Or, through Advanced Search you can search for full text and online content by limiting your search results to items available in full text and use your own keywords. 

    These search result include works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander subject matter as well as those by Indigenous Australians.

    * The 'Read Online' button at the top of records indicates the item is available to read immediately.

  • Examples of BlackWords Full Text

  • Growing up Indigenous in Australia / ed. Kerry Kilner (2018)

    image of person or book cover

    This collection of autobiographical short stories captures the experience of growing up in Australia as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. The authors range in age from young adults to older women and men but common to all of their experience is resilience and respect. The stories are published by BlackWords as a result of an overwhelming volume of stories submitted to Black Inc. for consideration in a print collection entitled Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Professor Anita Heiss.

    See full AustLit entry
  • In Conversation with BlackWords / Interviews by Anita Heiss (2014)

    image of person or book cover

    In late 2013 Dr Anita Heiss sent a series of questions to contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. The responses she received are at times funny, sad, moving, and always deeply insightful. Universally an important piece of advice was to 'Read, read, read' if you want to write. As an ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, Anita was very happy to see that advice coming from some of Australia's most admired and read authors.

    In 2014, BlackWords published a series of interviews conducted by Dr Anita Heiss with prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

    See full AustLit entry
  • Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages / Charles Darwin University (2014-)

    image of person or book cover
    This image has been sourced from online.

    'The Living Archive of Aboriginal Language is a digital archive of endangered literature in Australian Indigenous languages from around the Northern Territory.' This archive connects to the people and communities where the literature was created, allowing for collaborative research work with Indigenous authorities and communities.

    Clicking on the website's map to enter the archive, opens hundreds of items in 25 languages from all over the Northern Territory. The Website gives comprehensive instructions on the use of the site for Linguists, Communities, teachers, and students and/or researchers.

    See full AustLit entry
  • Keep Up to Date

    — Find out when new information is added to AustLit and BlackWords authors you are interested by adding an email address to the "Follow" option on their AustLit record.

    — Follow @AustLit on Twitter to keep up-to-date on all the news relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and every thing else 'Aust. Lit."

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