The story of an urban-based high achieving Wiradyuri woman working to break down stereotypes and build bridges between black and white Australia.
I’m Aboriginal. I’m just not the Aboriginal person a lot of people want or expect me to be.
What does it mean to be Aboriginal? Why is Australia so obsessed with notions of identity? Anita Heiss, successful author and passionate advocate for Aboriginal literacy, rights and representation, was born a member of the Wiradyuri nation of central New South Wales but was raised in the suburbs of Sydney and educated at the local Catholic school.
In this heartfelt and revealing memoir, told in her distinctive, wry style, with large doses of humour, Anita Heiss gives a firsthand account of her experiences as a woman with a Wiradyuri mother and Austrian father. Anita explains the development of her activist consciousness, how she strives to be happy and healthy, and the work she undertakes every day to ensure the world she leaves behind will be more equitable and understanding than it is today.
Anita is a proud member of the Wiradyuri nation of central New South Wales and is one of Australia’s most well-known authors, publishing across genres including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s fiction.
Anita’s non-fiction works include Am I Black Enough for You?, Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight): Publishing Aboriginal Literature, and, as editor, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia and The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, which she co-edited with Peter Minter.
Her adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize, and was the University of Canberra 2020 Book of the Year. Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray was shortlisted for the 2021 HNSA ARA Historical Novel.
Anita’s children’s literature includes Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937, Our Race for Reconciliation, Harry’s Secret, Matty’s Comeback, and Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic, co-written with Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin. She also wrote two kid’s novels with students from La Perouse Public School – Yirra and Her Deadly Dog, Demon and Demon Guards the School Yard.
Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero).
As an advocate for Indigenous literacy, Anita has worked in remote communities as a role model and encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories. On an international level she has performed her work and lectured on Aboriginal literature at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany, China, India and New Zealand. Anita is a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and a proud Ambassador of Worawa Aboriginal College, the GO Foundation and the Sydney Swans.
Anita is a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland and is on the board of the National Justice Project, University of Queensland Press, Aboriginal Art Co and Circa Contemporary Theatre.
Anita loves chocolate, running and being a creative disruptor.