I don’t regard my writing as poetry as much as social observations and political and personal statements that are not written in standard prose. My work reflects the role of non-Indigenous people in Australia in identifying, categorising and stereotyping Aboriginal people, particularly those within urban environments. My life as a contemporary Koori woman, and all that entails, provides me with the basis of much of my writing, which aims to confront, educate and entertain the reader.
empathetic towards us
You may even be
Indigenous to a land elsewhere,
So what psyches
you to write about us?
You and your academic,
historian, anthropological friends
You are the contemporary
How do you sleep at night?
I’m not racist,
And I even had a
white boyfriend once.
I worked with a white
I am a Wiradjuri
who I am.
Why do you always
question my identity?
To you I am not a
What you don’t realise
My origins are not
to be found in
My descent is from
the Wiradjuri nation,
My identity is of
an Aboriginal woman,
Anita Heiss is a Wiradjuri woman. She was born and grew up in the eastern
suburbs of Sydney. Anita has been writing for many years since being the
editor of Aboriginal projects at Streetwize Comics from 1992 to 1994.
In 2000 Anita completed her PhD in Communication and Media (University
of Western Sydney Nepean), researching Aboriginal literature and publishing.
Anita has two published collections, Sacred Cows (Magabala Books,
Broome, Western Australia 1996) and Token Koori (Curringa Communications,
Sydney 1998). Anita is currently working on an autobiographical novel,
entitled Kissed By The Sun. She has performed at many festivals,
including the Nambundah Cultural Festival (1994), the Maleny Folk Festival
(1994), Sydney Fringe Festival (1995), Sydney Writers’ Festival (1996-99),
Spring Writing Festival (1996-98), Byron Bay Writers’ Festival (1997),
Brisbane Writers’ Festival (1997), The Festival of the Dreaming (1997),
A Summer Readers’ Feast (1998), Spring Poetry Festival (1998), Bermagui
Festival of Words (1999-2000), the Canberra Word Festival (1999), the
Queensland Poetry Festival (2000) and the World Congress of Poets (2000).
Apart from working in Native American Publishing houses in Canada, Anita
has also conducted workshops with emerging writers throughout New South
Wales and spent one month as writer-in-residence at the Wagga Wagga Writers’
Centre in 1998. She was also script writer and presenter of Arts Yarn-Up
in 1996. Anita is on the Management Committee for the Australian Society
of Authors and is on the Board of Directors for Gadigal Information Services.
Anita’s work has been published in many journals and papers including
Meanjin, Idiom 23, Australian Humanities Review, Australian Book Review,
Ulitarra, Australian Short Stories, Muse, Social Alternatives, Southerly,
The Koori Mail, QWC News, QCAN Journal, HoriZons, The Eastern Door (Canada),
Australian Multicultural Book Review, Windspeaker (Canada) and
Links: (AWARD is an online database set up by the Australian Society of Authors
to promote Australian writers around the world.)
(AWARD is an online database set up by the Australian Society of Authors to promote Australian writers around the world.)