Reading 8A: Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature


The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature is of great importance to many both within Australia and internationally. Rich in diversity and content, it brings together a range of works that any serious student of Aboriginal history, life and culture will find invaluable. It will also be useful for those interested in more than just scholarship and academic pursuits; 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. This is a cultural product as much as it is a literary text. The history of Indigenous publications in the past two decades has almost overflowed with Indigenous creativity and effort. Much of that creativity and effort has been understandably linked to the politics of Aboriginal Australia. This publication makes a fine contribution in that direction.

I was lucky to grow up reading-sadly, a lot of Indigenous kids don't and literature has played a very influential role in my life. As I get older it seems there is just not a whole lot of time to read all the things I want to. I would hope that one day all Indigenous kids are able to read very early and read often and I'm sure a volume like this anthology would be an inspiration to many. It does give a glimpse of what Indigenous people are capable of doing.

Literature and its creation are so important to the lives of everyone. It can be and is used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders us mostly voiceless. It can give us confidence and pride to raise our voices through the silence.

This anthology contains work by some of the great Aboriginal writers, playwrights, novelists and poets. It is a wonderful encapsulation of their political and cultural activisms. I recommend it to all interested in the Indigenous literature of this country.

Mick Dodson .


This transformative survey of Aboriginal writing presents the stories and patterns of Australian culture and society in new ways, foregrounding and celebrating Indigenous experience and expression. It introduces powerful and creative individual voices as it also reveals a larger history of struggle, suffering and strength. No doubt there are gaps and limitations. There are always more voices to be heard and other stories to be told. Yet in their gathering of literature the editors show that Aboriginal authors have created some of the best, most distinctive and most significant writing to come from this country.