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The story of an urban-based high achieving Aboriginal woman working to break down stereotypes and build bridges between black and white Australia.

In Am I Black Enough For You?, Anita discusses her family story that stems from Wiradjuri country in central NSW to the eastern suburbs of Sydney where she has lived most of her life on the fringes of the La Perouse Aboriginal community. This is a contemporary story told in the same vein as Alice Pung's Unpolished Gem. With a blend of her own memoirs and that of her mother's - Elsie Williams - biography, the story is told with a humorous, simple narrative style and social commentary throughout. Am I Black Enough For You? includes the story of Anita’s own Aboriginal family and considesr the way in which Aboriginality is enmeshed with her daily life as a writer, educator, role model, sister, daughter, peer. Am I Black Enough for You? includes experiences travelling internationally as an Ambassador for Indigenous Australia, working in remote communities as a literacy role model, and her life with an increasing profile as an author and academic. Subjects covered include the entrenched racism in the Australian vernacular, the expectations Aboriginal people will be 'walking talking encyclopedias' in terms of Indigenous affairs, the construction of Aboriginality by government , tokenism, biculturalism, invisible whiteness, the tall-poppy syndrome and the rise of an Aboriginal middle-class in Australia and of course the recent Bolt case. Anita’s memoir encompasses the political, social and cultural evolution of Aboriginal Australia through her personal lens, and how that has long impacted on her writing; from motivation to content. Am I Black Enough For You? is for teens to adults and is full of wit and humour.


Am I Black Enough For You? is a vibrant, upbeat, restless and often driven account of what it means for at least one person to enjoy life as an indigenous writer.

Michael McGirr, The Sydney Morning Herald

One of the fundamentals about books is how they allow us to see through another’s eyes. In this part memoir, part polemic, part primer on Indigenous Australia, Anita Heiss gives a sharp, funny, moving account of what it’s like to be an educated, urban Aboriginal woman with an Austrian father, and the freight of expectations that come with that. One striking aspect of the book is Heiss’s lack of anger. This is a woman more concerned to educate than to rage, more interested in building bridges than burning them. Throughout she is grateful for the opportunities she has had and the support she has received from her family and others. She shows through her own experiences the strength of the Aboriginal community – from the encouragement she received when she was studying at university, to the teaching and mentoring she has done in turn with young Indigenous students.

Linda Funnell, The Newtown Review of Books

With wisdom, wit and fierce intelligence, Anita Heiss has written a brilliant memoir about what it means to be a black Australian woman in the 21st century. Part family history, part manifesto, this is feisty stuff: brassy, razor sharp and utterly readable.

Benjamin Law

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 2, 2012

    Bantam Australia

    352 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 2, 2012

    RHA eBooks Adult

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Anita Heiss

Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic
Paris Dreaming
Manhattan Dreaming
Avoiding Mr Right
Not Meeting Mr Right


The Extraordinary Life of Pikelet
Leila's Secret
Father Bob: The Larrikin Priest
The Diary Of A Young Girl
A Fortunate Life
The Undoing Project
At The Existentialist Café
Ned Kelly
The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi
Mao's Last Dancer
Pablo Escobar
Bomber: The Whole Story
My Family and Other Animals: Popular Penguins
Old Dogs New Tricks
Maori Boy
Murder Machine
A Life On Gorge River
Made In Brighton
Raw Voices