BlackWords provides access to both general and specific information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literary cultures and traditions, providing a platform for the investigation and articulation of what 'Black writing' and 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature'. BlackWords also contains records describing published and unpublished books, stories, plays, poems and criticism associated with eligible writers and storytellers and includes works in English and in Indigenous languages.
Discusses Anita Heiss' new role as Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland.'
'‘All Australian children deserve to know the country that they share through the stories that Aboriginal people can tell them,’ write Gladys Idjirrimoonra Milroy and Jill Milroy (2008: 42). If country and story, place and voice are intertwined, it is vital that we make space in Australian creative writing classrooms for the reading and writing of Australian Indigenous story. What principles and questions can allow us to begin? We propose six groundings for this work:
This two-part paper will discuss each of these groundings as orienting and motivating principles for work we do as teachers of introductory creative writing units at the University of Canberra.' (Publication abstract)
'Non-fiction books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have arguably played a crucial role in the framing of public discussion of Indigenous issues in Australia since the 1950s. In this article, I track quantitative trends in the publishing of the approximately 769 such books for the Australian retail trade between 1960 and 2000, as part of what I describe as an emerging “cultural mission” among Australian book publishers through the period. The article then discusses two major trends within the data. The first is an overall increase in the number of titles published annually through the period, while the second is a declining interest by mass-market trade publishers in publishing books in the area from the 1980s onwards versus an increased publication rate by smaller independent presses and two large trade publishers with a particular interest in the area, one of which is also independently owned. The article concludes with a discussion of possible reasons for the latter trend in the context of ongoing debates about white Australian colonialism.' (Publication abstract)
‘In ‘Considering sameness’, author and activist Adjunct Professor Anita Heiss confronts the challenges of writing and talking complex Indigenous characters into mainstream Australian literature and public discourse. Her ‘sameness’ does not ignore or oppose expression of ‘difference’. She looks for common ground from which to take a broader view of human interaction than is permitted in oppositional same-different debates underpinned by competing hierarchies of value. In doing so she surrenders neither space nor place. She discusses the approaches taken in 13 books of poetry, adult and young readers’ prose, and autobiography and essays to be found in the AustLit/Black Words database, to challenge and reverse dominant literary stereotypes in mainstream literature by arguing that – in all genres of writing and reportage – stereotypes have influence on identity construction, perception and reception: good and bad.’ (16-17)
'In the Museo Carlo Bilotti, at the Villa Borghese in Rome, through the second half of this year (4 July–2 November 2014), there is an exhibition entitled ‘Dreamings: Aboriginal Australian Art meets de Chirico,’ curated by Ian McLean and Erica Izett from the Sordello Missana collection of recent paintings from the Western and Central Desert regions of Australia, housed alongside the Museo’s permanent collection of work by the Italian metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. The exhibition brings together works representing the mysteries and intensities of space, place and location from (at least) two profoundly different aesthetic, spiritual, cultural and curatorial traditions. All the paintings in the exhibition are compelling in themselves, but as a collection or exhibition they bear a further point of interest in the ways they suggest a connection between the physical worlds in which they were produced and those where they rest and from whence they have been drawn for this exhibition. I want to draw on a number of claims made about this exhibition by curator Ian McLean.' (Introduction)
Only a year or so ago I had been addressing an audience of trees out of frustration at the deafness of Australians to Indigenous issues. Now here I am, collecting and showcasing the powerful words of some of our great Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and orators. Perhaps the trees put in a good word for me. I like to think so.
'Anita Heiss's latest novel, Tiddas (Simon and Schuster, 2014), is a demonstration of the way Black Australian stories are surging through a wide variety of genres in Australian literature. The story explores friendship, family, books and the challenges and pleasures that women meet along life's pathways as culture, history, love and babies collide with the realities of modern Australia. Heiss, who has been described as inventing Aboriginal Chick Lit (or 'Chock Lit'), is a dynamic, committed writer with a social conscience. So many of the writers whose careers, lives and writing is showcased in BlackWords (the most popular project in the AustLit web resource) deal with the realities 'of living Black in Australia.' (Publication abstract)