Vivienne Cleven was born in 1968 in Surat, Queensland and grew up in western Queensland, homeland of her Aboriginal heritage. She left school at thirteen to work with her father as a jillaroo: building fences, mustering cattle, and working at various jobs on stations throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
Cleven won the David Unaipon Award for unpublished Aboriginal writing with her first novel Bitin' Back in 2000. In 2006, she won the Kate Challis RAKA Award for both Bitin' Back and her later novel, Her Sister's Eye; the latter also won the Prize for Indigenous Writing (Victorian Premier's Literary Awards). In 2005, she adapted Bitin' Back for the stage.
'...always remember where you're from... To the Aboriginal Families of Mundra this saying brings either comfort or pain. To Nana Vida it is what binds the generations. To the unwilling savant Archie Corella it portends a fate too cruel to name. For Sophie Salte, whose woman's body and child's mind make her easy prey, nothing matters while her sister Murilla is there to watch over her.
For Murilla, fierce protector and unlikely friend to Caroline Drysdale, wife of the town patriarch, what matters is survival. In a town with a history of vigilante raids, missing persons and unsolved murders, survival can be all that matters'. (Source: back cover, 2002 edition)
Bitin' Back2001single work novel 'When the Blackout's star player Nevil Dooley wakes one morning to don a frock and 'eyeshada', his mother's idle days at the bingo hall are gone forever. Mystified and clueless, single parent Mavis takes bush-cunning and fast footwork to unravel the mystery behind this sudden change of face... Hilarity prevails while desperation builds in the race to save Nevil from the savage consequences of discovery in a town where a career in footy is a young black man's only escape. Neither pig shoots, bust-ups at the Two Dogs, bare-knuckle sessions in the shed or even a police siege can slow the countdown on this human time bomb.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)