AustLit logo
Meme McDonald Meme McDonald i(A28750 works by)
Born: Established: 1954 St George, St George area, Darling Downs, Queensland, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Meme McDonald was born in south-west Queensland. She was educated by her mother until entering a boarding school at eight years of age. After high school she spent a year in New York on a cultural exchange. She spent some time studying at Monash University after her return to Australia, and completed a dramatic arts course at the Victorian College of the Arts Drama School. A founding member of the WEST Theatre Company in 1979, McDonald has worked as a stage director for many years, contributing to national and international productions.

Looking for an additional creative outlet in the 1980s, she took a course in photography and, through this, she began to write. In 1992 she published her first book, Put Your Whole Self In, a story inspired by the elderly members of the Northcote Hydrotherapy and Massage Group, which won the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction in 1993, together with Judith Brett's book Robert Menzies Forgotten People (1992). After meeting the Aboriginal storyteller Boori Monty Pryor, she collaborated on a series of books based on the stories of Pryor and his North Queensland family. Their first collaboration, Maybe Tomorrow (1998) received a Special Commendation from the Human Rights Awards and their second, My Girragundji (1998), won a Children's Book Council of Australia Award. They have since published several more books, most notably The Binna Binna Man (1999) which won several more awards, including the Ethnic Affairs Commission Award in 2000.

Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2012 winner Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships Ros Bower Award For an outstanding, life-long contribution to community arts and cultural development.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Love Like Water Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2007 Z1358425 2007 single work novel young adult (taught in 2 units)

'Cathy arrives in Alice Springs from cattle country, looking for a new way to live. But new is a serious challenge for a girl who's used to being measured by her actions, not her feelings. Feelings are slippery, like water. Hard to hold onto.

Jay is working for the local radio station, far from his own saltwater people, wary of this no-water country. He's searching for something, trying to survive.

Margie is a wild city girl, up for a good time, confronted by a world she's never known and a friend she can't always understand.

When lives collide at the heart of the country, no one stays unchanged.' - back cover

'More than a love story, this is a bold, confronting book about friendship, love, sex and identity at the heart of Australia, where black and white, bush and city collide.' (Publisher's blurb)

2008 shortlisted CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year: Older Readers
y separately published work icon Sister Chick Flies the Way of the Birds Allen and Unwin , 2002 Z988138 2002 single work children's fiction children's fantasy

''Once, not long ago, and in a place not far from here, a baby girl was born. Eva. In that same moment, in a place far away on the other side of the world, an egg cracked. The tip of a tiny beak poked through, and a curlew chick was born. Sister Chick.'

'Eva dreams of places far beyond her own backyard. While other kids go by, fooling around with their friends, Eva is watching, listening for the call of a curlew flying high overhead; waiting for the bird with the long slender beak. And when the curlew finally arrives, Eva goes on a magical journey, flying with Sister Chick from the distant marshlands of Siberia to the ancient southern land of Australia.'

Source: Book jacket.

2003 shortlisted The Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children's Literature Primary Fiction
y separately published work icon Njunjul the Sun Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2002 Z947015 2002 single work novel young adult (taught in 2 units) 'A 16-year-old Aboriginal boy leaves his family and home for the big city, and as he struggles to make sense of his experience he realises that he must have the knowledge of his own people and culture in order to know who he is, and to find his direction.' Source: Libraries Australia.
2006 commended Australian Centre Literary Awards The Kate Challis RAKA Award
2003 shortlisted CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year: Older Readers
2002 winner Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Young Adult Fiction
Last amended 20 Nov 2017 13:48:19
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: