Australia's First Nation Voices

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Australia's First Nation Voices

Explore the rich and diverse world of First Nations literature. From prose, to poetry, through to non-fiction and essays, into music and visual media, experience and connect with a new (or rather old) worldview beyond your own.

Aboriginal writing exposes the reader to "powerful and creative individual voices as it also reveals a larger history of struggle, suffering and strength.

Jose, Nicholas. "Preface." Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, edited by Anita Heiss and Peter Minter, Allen & Unwin, 2008.


Fiction and short stories

Fiction from a range of authors, including Tony Birch, Anita Heiss, Kim Scott, Adam Thompson and Larissa Behrendt. 

Aboriginal writers turned to fiction in the 1960s, through both mainstream and independent publishing houses. Through the 1970s Aboriginal writing blossomed. The 1980s and 90s saw an increase in "testimonial" fiction, and the themes of family, home, belonging, cultural difference and acceptance, independence and responsibility continues through the resurgence of Aboriginal writing over the last 20 years to the present day.


Non-fiction and essays

Non-fiction from a range of authors, including Bruce Pascoe, Terri Janke, Victor Steffensen, Marcia Langton and Archie Roach. 

Before Aboriginal writers worked with Fiction, they were motivated by necessity to engage in non-fiction forms of writing. Letters and other political formats, newspapers, petitions and histories that were used to negotiate, protest and plead with British authorities. The link between Aboriginal writing and political themes remains to this day.


Poetry

Poetry from a range of Aboriginal Australian poets, including Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), Lionel George Fogarty, Jack Davis, Ambelin Kwaymullina and Evelyn Araluen.

Poetry was one of the first creative forms of writing that Aboriginal Australians moved into. In 1964 Kath Walker, under the name Oodgeroo of the clan Noonuccal, published the first collection of Aboriginal poetry, We Are Going. Aboriginal poetry expanded over the next 60 years. Again, political themes dominate.


Other Media
Additional Resources

Other Media

Indigenous screen culture has arguably "emerged as the most distinctive and transformative feature of Australian national cinema in the first decades of the twenty-first century ... [and is] said to be 'leading the charge when it comes to creating diverse entertainment.'"

Collins, Felicity, Jane Landman and Susan Bye. "Introduction: Australian Cinema Now." A Companion to Australian Cinema, John Wiley & Sons, 2019.

Film

Films with major ties to Indigenous peoples include:

Television

Television programs with major ties to Indigenous peoples include:

Comedians

Music