National Sorry Day, 2019

This year, National Sorry Day will be held on Sunday 26 May. We’d like to take this opportunity to commemorate some incredible First Nations authors and artists. The below examples constitute by no means a complete list, so please feel free to peruse our other recommended reads here. For those with little ones, we’ve put together a collection of recommended Indigenous books for children here.

Further collections can be found at the bottom of the post, and you can see previous posts celebrating Indigenous writers here and here.


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The White Girl by Tony Birch

In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families. This might be a novel with fictional characters, but their stories are undoubtedly based on very real experiences suffered by families. Birch’s writing is restrained and elegant, and will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.


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Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton

Tourism Australia statistics show that many overseas tourists, as well as Australians, are keen to learn more about Australia’s first peoples. And while the Indigenous tourism industry continues to grow, culturally sensitive travel guides are thin on the ground. This book is essential for anyone travelling around Australia who wants to learn more about the cultures that have thrived here for over 50,000 years.


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Australia Day by Stan Grant

In this book, Australia Day, Stan Grant’s long-awaited follow up to Talking to My Country, Grant talks about reconciliation and the Indigenous struggle for belonging and identity in Australia, and about what it means to be Australian. A sad, wise and reflective book.


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Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

Wilam: A Birrarung Story is a beautifully illustrated picture book detailing one day on a vital, flourishing river – a river many of us know as Melbourne’s Yarra. This book, able to be enjoyed by children and adults alike, is a magical way to learn the natural, spiritual and geographical story of this famous landmark. 2019 is also the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and Wilam’s seamless incorporation of the Woiwurrung language into the text makes it the perfect book to introduce young ones to some common Woiwurrung words.


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Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize, Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nullius is a striking retelling of the colonial settlement of Australia. With a cast of mesmerising characters, Terra Nullius is both new and familiar; this country’s history presented in a new way.


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Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Dark Emu has been the book in everyone’s hands for a while now, and it’s not hard to see why. Bruce Pascoe’s groundbreaking discussion on Australia and its peoples before colonisation has spawned a young reader’s edition, and is required reading for anyone wishing to understand more about the continent and its first peoples.


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Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip is a gritty and darkly hilarious novel. Recently longlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award, its wisecracking prodigal daughter, Kerry, and her reluctant return to her NSW hometown will resonate with all readers. Too Much Lip showcases Lucashenko’s talents as a writer, and her profound ability to construct funny, fraught and powerful stories.


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Our Mob Served: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories of War and Defending Australia, edited by Allison Cadzow and Mary Anne Jebb

For years, the true involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in war time was little known or discussed. Our Mob Served is a unique collection of vivid oral histories told to the editors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s stories of defence service. For some, this is the first time their stories have been told.


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Blak Brow by Paola Balla, Karen Jackson, Kim Kruger, Pauline Whyman, Tony Birch and Bridget Caldwell

Blak Brow is the very special Issue 40 of The Lifted Brow – an edition created entirely and independently by a First Nations collective of editors, curators, academics, designers, and activists. It is filled with new work by First Nations writers and visual artists, and focuses particularly on blak women – their stories, ideas, opinions, and art. This edition of The Lifted Brow is about celebrating, sharing, platforming, respecting and listening to the diverse voices of First Nations women through poetry, art, illustrations, fiction, non-fiction, art stories and community interviews in various forms.

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Wilam: A Birrarung Story

Wilam: A Birrarung Story

Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly, Lisa Kennedy

$24.99Buy now

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