Anita Heiss

A proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, she is one of Australia’s most prolific and pre-eminent writers. Her long literary career, a testimony to her Aboriginal identity, has taken the forms of activism and, most especially, her writing: novels, essays, poems, and books for children and young people. Notable among her works of fiction are Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence (Scholastic Australia, 2001) —in which she tells the story of an Aboriginal girl who has been taken away from her family to be raised by a white family— and the novel for young people, Our Race for Reconciliation (Scholastic Australia, 2017), which is inspired by the Aboriginal athlete Cathy Freeman, who won a gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. One of her outstanding works is the memoir Am I Black Enough for You? (Penguin Books, 2012) —winner of the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing and a finalist for the Human Rights Award—in which she denounces the racial stereotypes to which Australian Aborigines are constantly subjected. As an activist, Anita Heiss is Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Ambassador for the Worawa Aboriginal College. She has worked with several Aboriginal communities to encourage children to read and to empower them through writing. She has recently edited the book Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (Black Inc. Books, 2018), an anthology in which 51 Aboriginal Australians from a wide variety of walks of life and livelihoods testify to what it has been like for them to grow up Aboriginal in Australia.

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