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, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation. Evelyn’s debut is Dropbear.
Hannah Donnelly (Australian)
Hannah is an award-winning Wiradjuri writer, curator and producer interested in Indigenous futures, speculative fiction and responses to climate trauma. She is currently producer of First Nations Programs at Information + Cultural Exchange, a curatorium member for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney 2022 and chief editor of BLACKLIGHT, a forthcoming Sweatshop anthology of First Nations storytelling. Hannah is Winner of the National Indigenous Story Award in 2018, her recent publications include essays and poetry in After Australia, Sovereign Words, Artlink, Acclaim Magazine, Writers Victoria and Cordite Poetry Review.
Bruce Pascoe (Australian)
Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He has written 35 books and won the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. He farms Indigenous foods at Wallagaraugh, Victoria.
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.