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, teacher and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. She has written poetry and criticism for a range of publications, including Overland and Southerly. In 2017 she won the Nakata Brophy Award for Young Indigenous Writers, and in 2018 won the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. Born and raised on the Dharug lands of Western Sydney, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.
Bruce Pascoe (Australian)
Bruce Pascoe is an Australian Indigenous writer and a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. Bruce has worked in education, publishing, farming, fishing and Aboriginal language retrieval. He published and edited Australian Short Stories quarterly magazine for 16 years, and was joint winner (with David Foster) of Australian Literature Award in 1999 and winner of the Radio National Short Story Competition in 1998. His most recent non-fiction title, Dark Emu, challenges the claim that pre-colonial Australian Aboriginal peoples were hunter-gatherers. Dark Emu was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier's Indigenous Writer's Award and QLD Literary Award; and won the NSW Premier's Book of the Year and Indigenous Writer's Prize in 2016. It will be presented by Bangarra Dance Company in 2018. His teenage novel, Fog a Dox, won the Prime Minister’s Young Adult Literature Award in 2013.