Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature

Allen & Unwin, 2008
260 pages, softcover
ISBN: 9781741754384
Cover photograph: ‘Untitled’, from the series “Cloud”, Michael Riley, 2000

Edited by Anita Heiss and Peter Minter
General Editor: Nicolas Jose
Advisory Publishing Editor: Mary Cunnane
Deputy General Editor: David McCooey

“This volume is extremely significant from an Indigenous cultural perspective, containing many works that afford the reader a treasured insight into the Indigenous cultural world of Australia.” Mick Dodson

A groundbreaking collection of work from the great Australian Aboriginal writers, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature offers a rich panorama of over 200 years of Aboriginal culture, history and life.

From Bennelong’s 1796 letter to contemporary creative writers, Anita Heiss and Peter Minter have selected work that represents the range and depth of Aboriginal writing in English. The anthology includes journalism, petitions and political letters from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as major works that reflect the blossoming of Aboriginal poetry, prose and drama from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Literature has been used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders them largely voiceless. These works chronicle the ongoing suffering of dispossession, but also the resilience of Aboriginal people across the country, and the hope and joy in their lives.

With some of the best, most distinctive writing produced in Australia, this anthology is invaluable for anyone interested in Aboriginal writing and culture.

“… the anthology as a whole suggests a national counter-narrative. … The editing achievement of Anita Heiss and Peter Minter is a signal to the wider culture that Australians have more than one story to tell.” Kevin Brophy, Eureka Street

“… deep and broad, a small miracle of editorial selection.” Robert Lumsden, The Adelaide Review.

“… undoubtedly one of the most concise works of Aboriginal Literature to date.” Norman Newlin ABC Online Indigenous Arts

This volume was also published in North America as the “Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature” by McGill-Queens University Press [ISBN 9780773534599]