Indigenous Australian literature is a unique and vital part of the country’s literary scene. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of Indigenous authors being published, with many voices coming to the fore and telling their stories.
This guide will introduce you to some of the most important Indigenous Australian authors and their works. It will also provide an overview of the history of Indigenous literature in Australia, from early oral storytelling traditions through to the present day. So, whether you’re a budding reader or an experienced one, this guide will help you explore the rich and diverse world of Indigenous Australian literature.
The History of Indigenous Australian Literature
Indigenous Australian literature has its roots in oral storytelling traditions. For millennia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have passed down stories from generation to generation. These stories often deal with important cultural themes, such as Dreamtime mythology or the history of specific clans.
Some of the earliest examples of written Indigenous literature date back to the 18th Century, when European settlers began documenting Aboriginal oral traditions. One notable example is David Unaipon’s Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines (1927), which contains a collection of traditional Aboriginal stories that were record by Unaipon, himself an Aboriginal man.
It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that a wave of Indigenous writers began publishing works in English. This was around the time that the civil rights movement was gaining momentum in Australia, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fought for recognition and equality. Some notable authors from this period include Oodgeroo Noonuccal (aka Kath Walker), Kevin Gilbert, Mudrooroo Narogin, and Beryl Curtain.
Indigenous Australian Literature Today
Since then, the number of Indigenous writers published in Australia has grown exponentially. In 2020 alone, there were over 100 books published by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors – this includes fiction, poetry, children’s books, non-fiction, and more. Some of the most acclaimed contemporary Indigenous writers include Sam Wagan Watson, Alexis Wright, Bruce Pascoe, Miranda Tapsell, and Tony Birch.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature provides a vital window into understanding Australia’s past and present. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of this country and its people.
Start reading today!
Indigenous Australian literature is an essential part of the country’s literary scene. It is rich and diverse, with many voices telling their stories. This guide has introduced you to some of the most important Indigenous Australian authors and their works, as well as providing an overview of the history of Indigenous literature in Australia. So get reading and start exploring this vital part of our national story!
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