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The best books by Indigenous Australian authors to read this NAIDOC Week

Immense yourself in rich storytelling.

NAIDOC Week, celebrated annually in Australia, honours the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You can celebrate NAIDOC Week this year (which takes place between July 7, 2024 and July 14, 2024) in a multitude of ways; one way is by supporting Indigenous Australian authors.

So, immerse yourself in rich storytelling by adding one of the following incredible books – all by Indigenous Australian authors – to your must-read list.

the yield

01

The Yield by Tara June Winch

Fiction

The Yield – released in 2019 – ended up winning Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Voss Prize, and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

Written by Tara June Winch, a proud Wiradjuri author, the book follows August Gondiwindi as she tries to relieve her grief and guilt over her grandfather’s death by endeavouring to save his land which is to be repossessed by a mining company.

Ultimately though, The Yield is a deeply emotive and beautifully crafted narrative that explores the displacement of a people and their culture.

homecoming

02

Homecoming by Dr Elfie Shiosaki

Poetry

Dr Elfie Shiosaki is a Noongar and Yawuru academic and storyteller from the southwest region of Australia and Homecoming is her debut novel.

Released in 2022, the book is a seminal collection of poetry, prose and historical colonial archives that tells various stories about four generations of Noongar women.

Homecoming also explores how they navigated the changing landscapes of colonisation, protectionism, and assimilation to hold their families together; unique, powerful, shocking and wonderful, the book’s a must-read.

books by Indigenous Australian authors - dirrayawadha

03

Dirrayawadha (Rise Up) by Dr Anita Heiss

Historical Fiction

Dr Anita Heiss is an award winning Indigenous Australian author of 23 books. Unrestricted by genres, the proud Wiradyuri woman writes historical fiction, non-fiction, women’s fiction and children’s books.

Her latest offer is Dirrayawadha (Rise Up), an historical novel about resistance and romance rooted in truth and set against the backdrop of the frontier wars.

The story follows Miinaa, a young woman who works for a white family who’ve settled in Cloverdale, and Irish convict Daniel O’Dwyer who she meets during a time of unrest. Can love really conquer all?

books by Indigenous Australian authors - when cops are criminals

04

When Cops are Criminals by Veronica Gorrie

Non-fiction

When Veronica Gorrie released her memoir, Black and Blue, in 2021, she told an unflinching story of racism and resilience. The book, about her life as a Kurnai woman and her decade in the police force, was awarded the prestigious Australian literary accolade, the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Literature.

The followup to her sensational debut is When Cops are Criminals. It’s an examination of the systemic failures of the police force, edited by Gorrie with contributions from former politician Emma Husar, Associate Professor Amanda Porter, whistleblower Kate Pausina and others.

This isn’t just a book, it’s a call for institutional reform and a path forward.

books by Indigenous Australian authors - growing up torres strait islander in australia

05

Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia edited by Samantha Faulkner

Short stories

From the author of Life B’long Ali Drummond: A Life in the Torres Strait, comes a fresh collection of stories celebrating the unique experience of being Torres Strait Islander.

These stories are scented with frangipani and stained with mango juice and soy sauce. They’re stories of culture, connection and catching dugongs.

With entries from icons of the past and present including Eddie Mabo, Aaron Fa’Aoso and Lenora Thaker, this is the real Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait). Expertly edited by Samantha Faulkner (from Badu and Moa Islands in the Torres Strait and the Yadhaigana and Wuthuthi peoples of Cape York Peninsula), this is a book to be treasured.

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