In a Writers Bloc article, Wiradjuri writer Hannah Donnelly wrote: ‘Today when I read Australian literature I am perplexed as to how writers continue to colonise country through their writing.’ She urged writers to be wary of rewriting colonial myths: ‘There are so many ways to learn about country while respecting our intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions.’ Alison Whittaker talks to Hannah, Indigenous literature expert Evelyn Araluen and writer Bruce Pascoe about white central narratives in Australian writing, and how to decolonise our literature.
Evelyn Araluen (Australian)
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland Literary Journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry has been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Her debut poetry collection Dropbear is forthcoming with Brow Books in 2020. Born and raised in Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.
Bruce Pascoe (Australian)
Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning writer and a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He is a Board member of First Languages Australia and Professor of Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Technology Sydney. In 2018, he was named Dreamtime Person of the Year for his contribution to Indigenous culture. Salt is a collection of his best and most celebrated stories and essays, which traverses his long career and explores his enduring fascination with Australia’s landscape, culture and history.
Alison Whittaker (Australian)
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar. She is a Research Fellow at the Jumbunna Institute. In 2017–18, Alison was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School where she was named Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Her second book Blakwork was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Award. Her most recent book, Fire Front, is an anthology of, and about, First Nations published poetry.