Photo credit: Amanda James
Anita Heiss Anita Heiss i(A7669 works by) (a.k.a. Anita M. Heiss)
Born: Established: 1968 Sydney, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal Wiradjuri people ; Aboriginal
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Dr Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales and is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors of Aboriginal literature. She has a PhD in Communication and Media which resulted in a history of Indigenous publishing titled Dhuuluu-Yala : To Talk Straight. Other published works include the historical novel Who Am I? : The Diary of Mary Talence : Sydney, 1937, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature which she co-edited with Peter Minter.

In 2007 Anita released three titles: the novel Not Meeting Mr Right, the poetry collection I'm Not Racist, But... : A Collection of Social Observations and the children's novel, Yirra and Her Deadly Dog, Demon. These were followed by Avoiding Mr Right and Manhattan Dreaming in 2008 and 2011 respectively. In 2011, Anita released Paris Dreaming and Demon Guards the School Yard, which was written with the students of La Perouse Public School in Sydney for the award-winning Yarning Strong series. Her most recent novel Tiddas is set in Brisbane and was published in 2014.

In 2004 Anita was listed in the Bulletin magazine’s 'Smart 100'. Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero). Anita has made guest appearances on many television programs including the Einstein Factor, Message Stick, Vulture, Critical Mass, A Difference of Opinion (all ABC), The Catch Up (Channel 9), Living Black (SBS), The Gathering (NITV), 9am with David and Kim and The Circle (both Channel 10).

Anita is a sought after public speaker and performer, delivering keynote addresses at universities and conferences across the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany and New Zealand. She has also presented at Australian Embassies and Consulates in Vienna, Paris, New York, Atlanta and Shanghai. She is an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador and an Advocate for the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.

Anita is a tireless advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing and has been involved in AustLit's BlackWords project since its inception in 2007.



Most Referenced Works


  • Also published: Our Dream - Stopping the Violence : An Information Booklet for Aboriginal Women on Domestic Violence and the Law in NSW (Redfern Legal Centre, Publishing, 1999).

    Also edited and authored Wize Up a comic book for Streewize Comics (1992)

Awards for Works

Matty's Comeback 2016 single work children's fiction children's

'Matty loves football. He's South Sydney's number one fan and the star scorer in his own local team.. He knows he can help his team to the semifinals and beyond. But things don't go to plan, and now it seems Matty won't be able to help his team to victory after all. But help can come from surprising places and people.' (Publication summary)

2016 shortlisted Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards Best Book for Language Development – Indigenous Children
Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms 2016 single work novel historical fiction

'An against all odds historical love story set in WW 2 Cowra, central NSW about a Japanese prisoner of war (Hiroshi) who escapes from the POW compound and is taken in by a member of the local Aboriginal Mission (Banjo Williams). His eldest daughter Mary and Hiroshi fall for one another over the year that he is with them but her father and the Acts of Protection and Assimilation stand in the way of any future happiness...'' (Publication summary)

2018 longlisted International Awards International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
2017 finalist Queensland Literary Awards The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year
Harry's Secret 2015 single work children's fiction children's

'Harry has a secret.

'He loves to draw.

'You wouldn't think that would be a problem, but Harry's friend Gav thinks skateboarding, footy and fishing are cool, but art is definitely not.

'When Harry enters the local art competition, his talent is no longer hidden.

'Or is it?' (Publication summary)

2016 shortlisted Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards Best Book for Language Development – Indigenous Children
Last amended 12 Aug 2017 08:17:00
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