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BlackWords
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
  • Welcome to BlackWords

    Please be aware that BlackWords contains images and information about people who have died.

    Users are advised that AustLit contains information that may be culturally sensitive, including images of deceased persons. In addition, as a database that records information about Australian culture and history, AustLit, and the BlackWords material housed within it, contains terminology that reflects attitudes or language used at the time of publication that would be considered inappropriate today. See below for translations of the welcome words.

  • assertion

    Discover Thousands of Years of Stories in BlackWords...

  • Over 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and 17,000 Works Recorded

  • What is BlackWords?

  • BlackWords records information about the lives, careers, and works of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers and the literary cultures and traditions that formed and influenced them.

    BlackWords is a vitally important part of the work the AustLit team does in delivering information and carefully curated content about storytelling in Australia.

    The most comprehensive record of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander publications available.

    BlackWords covers all forms of creative writing, plus film, television, criticism and scholarship, both by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and literary and storytelling cultures.

    Explore BlackWords through the many links from this page and the menu options.

    We welcome updates from authors, publishers, and others. Please contact us if you can help ensure that BlackWords is up-to-date and comprehensive.

  • What Do We Mean By Black Writing?

  • In BlackWords this means means material created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers. All Indigenous writers and storytellers are identified as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on their author records. In many cases they are also identified with one or more cultural heritage. We only ever record information about cultural heritage when it is available in the public record.

    We also record details of works that contain stories or oral narratives that relate to relevant aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience such as mission histories, some works of anthropology, educational texts, journals and correspondence, which might not be included in the broader AustLit scope, but which are relevant to BlackWords.

  • In BlackWords, ‘Black’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and storytellers. While the word ‘Black’ has historically been used negatively against the Indigenous peoples of Australia, in recent times it has been reclaimed by Indigenous communities, and used in preference to terms such as ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Indigenous’, which are viewed as colonisers’ terms.

  • Australia Council Protocols

  • For background on working with Indigenous writers and subject matter, the following protocols, written for the Australia Council for the Arts by eminent Indigenous intellectual property lawyers Terri Janke and Robynne Quiggin, are provided courtesy of the Council. (Please note, these files are large PDFs and may take a moment to download.)

    Writing

    Performing Arts

    Music

    Visual Arts

    Media Arts

  • Licensing and Re-use of BlackWords Content

    Creative Commons Licence

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    You are free:

    • to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
    • to Remix – to adapt the work

    Under the following conditions:

    • Attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
    • Noncommercial – You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
    • Share alike

    Notice – For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page, where the full conditions of this license are explained.

  • Publication details

    BlackWords is a separately published work within AustLit.

    AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource 2004-

    Cataloguing-in-Publication Details

    BlackWords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers

    Bibliography.

    Biographical index.

    Includes index.

    ISBN 0 9750867 7 4.

    1. Australian literature - Bibliography.

    2. Australian writers - History and criticism - Bibliography.

    3. Indigenous Australian literature - Bibliography.

    4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers - In literature - Bibliography.

    I. AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource.

  • Aboriginal Language gif

    The revolving gif at the top of this page are words from a number of Australian languages. The translations are below;

  • Queensland

    • Barrukka means 'talk' in Queensland from a non-specific geographical location

    (Information from: Australian Aboriginal Words : Aboriginal-English; English-Aboriginal Compiled by Rex Ingamells. Melbourne: Hallcraft, 1955.)

    • Gi'yam means 'word' or 'language' in the Wakka language of South Eastern Queensland.
    • Yãm'an means 'speaking' or 'telling' in the Kabi/Gubbi-Gubbi language of South Eastern Queensland.
    • Ngau'rai means 'speak' in the Yugambeh/Yugumbir language of South Eastern Queensland.
    • Yãr'i means 'speak' or 'say' in the Yugarabul/Yuggera/Jaggera language of South Eastern Queensland.

    (All information from: Vocabularies of Four Representative Tribes of South Eastern Queensland (Brisbane, Qld: Royal Geographical Society of Australia, [195-].)

    • Wayma, Gulgunma means 'talk' or 'speak' inYugumbir/Yugambeh dialect of the Bandjalang people of South Eastern Queensland/Northern NSW region.

    (Information from: A Description of the Yugumbir Dialect of Bandjalang M.C. Cunningham. St. Lucia : University of Queensland Press, 1969.)

    South Australia

    • Mityi Utyu Wauda means 'BlackWords' in Adnyamathanha language of the Flinders Ranges region of South Australia.
    • Tjukurpa Maru Tjuta means BlackWords in Pitjantjatjara language of the Central Desert region of South Australia.
    • Wapar Maru Tjuta means BlackWords in Yankunytjatjara language of the Central Desert region of South Australia.

    (All Information courtesy of Guy Tunstill, Project Officer, Aboriginal Languages at the Department of Education and Children's Services.)

    Tasmania

    • Palawa kani means 'Aboriginal Talk' in Tasmanian Palawa language. (Information courtesy Greg Lehman, Aboriginal Education, Department of Education, Tasmania.)

    Western Australia

    • Noongar-a-mai-waarngkiny means 'People talk, speaking' in the Nyungar language of South West Western Australia. (Information from the Humphries family, Kellerberrin, WA.)
    • Marroo Yinnee means 'BlackWords' in the Nyungar language of South West Western Australia. (Information from Josie Boyle, Morgans, WA.)
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