As a teenager, Aminata Conteh-Biger became a casualty of the Sierra Leone civil war. Kidnapped by rebel forces, Australia granted her refugee status upon her release, making her the first Sierra Leonean refugee woman in the country. Since her arrival here, Aminata has forged an incredible life as a performer, wife, mother and now author. She also founded The Aminata Maternal Foundation, which supports and empowers women and children in Sierra Leone. Reflecting on her extraordinary autobiography Rising Heart, hear Aminata in conversation with literary critic Nicole Abadee.

Presented with the State Library of NSW.

Aminata Conteh-Biger (Australian)

Aminata Conteh-Biger

Aminata Conteh-Biger is an Australian author and performer who is the Founder and CEO of The Aminata Maternal Foundation charity. At the age of 18, Aminata was kidnapped, torn from her father's hands by rebel soldiers during the Serra Leone civil war. Held captive for months and subjected to horrors, Aminata was freed as part of a negiotiated prisoner exchange, released in return for food and medicine. Following her release, Aminata became one of the first Sierra Leonean refugees to be settled in Australia. She is now a wife and mother, dedicating her life to the work of the foundation. Her autobiography, Rising Heart, tells her awe-inspiring story in full for the first time.

Nicole Abadee (Australian)

Nicole Abadee

Nicole Adabee is the books writer for The Australian Financial Review. She also writes about books for Good Weekend and Australian Book Review, and appears regularly as a facilitator at writers’ festivals and other literary events. As a literary consultant, Nicole helps writers develop their manuscripts and advises on how to get published.