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The BlackWords Book Club

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  • The BlackWords Book Club

    Are you interested in exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences in historical and contemporary settings through great books, films, documentaries and other stories?


    We invite you to join UQ’s BlackWords Book Club (formerly Stories for Reconciliation Club)

    The group has no political or religious affiliations and people from all backgrounds with an interest in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories expanding their knowledge and understanding of current and historical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences are welcome.

    We get together a few times a year to discuss a story that has relevance to Indigenous experience in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.


    Explore the information on the pages linked on the left and contact us for details on how to access more of AustLit and BlackWords.

    Register here

  • The Stories

  • The Cherry Picker's Daughter - 25 November 2020

    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.
    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.

    'An exquisite portrait of growing up Aboriginal on the fringes of outback towns in New South Wales in the mid-twentieth century. The Cherry Picker’s Daughter is a window into the day-to-day lived experience, a profound insight into the extraordinary strength, resilience and ingenuity of Aboriginal families, of women in particular, to survive and overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity: extreme poverty, persecution, racism and cultural genocide.'

    Source: Publisher's blurb.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • Oodgeroo Noonuccal - 16 September 2020

    Oodgeroo (meaning 'paperbark tree') of the Noonuccal people of Stradbroke Island was known as Kath Walker until she returned to her language name in 1988 as a sign of protest against Australia's Bicentenary celebrations and as a symbol of pride in an Aboriginal heritage.

    Brought up on North Stradbroke Island east of Brisbane, Oodgeroo Noonuccal was educated at Dunwich State School until the age of thirteen and then became a domestic servant.

    See full AustLit entry
  • 232 : The Last Day of Freedom 2020 - 5 August 2020

    Lorna Munro, or 'Yilinhi', is a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman, multidisciplinary artist and regular radio and podcast host at Sydney's 'Radio Skid Row'.
    See full AustLit entry
    Lorna Monro is the host of podcast 232: The Last Day of Freedom 2020.
  • Melissa Lucashenko's Too Much Lip - 25 March 2020

  • image of person or book cover
    Cover image courtesy of publisher.
    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.
    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.
    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.

    'Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

    'Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

    'Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • Terri Janke's Butterfly Song - 8 November 2019

    image of person or book cover
    Image courtesy of publisher's website.

    Tarena Shaw has just finished her Law degree but isn't sure if she wants to be a lawyer after all. What place does a black lawyer have in a white system? Does everyone in Sydney feel like a turtle without a shell? Drawn to Thursday Island, the home of her grandparents, Tarena is persuaded by her family to take on her first case. Part of the evidence is a man with a guitar and a very special song... Butterfly Song moves from the pearling days in the Torres Strait to the ebb and flow of big city life, with a warm and funny modern heroine whose story reaches across cultures.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry

    For more information, click here

  • Stan Grant - Australia Day - 12 June 2019

    image of person or book cover
    Cover image courtesy of publisher.

    'As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day.

    'Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream.

    (...more)
    See full AustLit entry
  • Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia - 27 March 2019

    Cover image courtesy of publisher.
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    Follow this link to find out more about this fantastic collection of stories about childhoods in Australia as an Aboriginal person.

  • Wrong Kind of Black - 14 November 2018

    Logo for the television series.

    Wrong Kind of Black the television series.

    Follow this link to learn more about the thoroughly brilliant Boori Prior and to prepare for the discussion.

  • Mystery Road - 1 August 2018

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    Mystery Road the television series.

    Follow this link to explore information about Mystery Road and other relevant texts. 

  • Taboo - 6 June 2018

    Cover image courtesy of publisher.
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    Taboo by Kim Scott.

    Follow this link for contextual information on the author and subject matter.

  • Mullumbimby - March 2018

    Cover image courtesy of publisher.
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    Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

    Follow this link for contextual information on the author and subject matter.

  • Riding the Black Cockatoo - December 2017

    Cover image courtesy of publisher.
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    Riding the Black Cockatoo by John Danalis

    Follow this link for contextual information on the author and subject matter.

  • General Reading

  • Behrendt, Larissa. 'Censorship Today, Censorship Tomorrow'. Keynote address, Melbourne Writers Festival, 2013.

    Winners vanquish losers; we all know they write history. But each instance of conquest has its own historical peculiarities, its own legacies.

    A transcript of Behrendt's keynote address about the different challenges of writing from within and without the dominant culture, and what it means even when an author fails.

  • Birch, Tony. 'Too Many Australians Remain Ignorant of Aboriginal Writing', The Guardian, 31 August 2013.

    It is rare for an event concerned with Aboriginal writing to pass without the question coming from the floor; 'Can non-Aboriginal people write an Aboriginal character?'

    Based on a keynote address from the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2013, this essay by Birch considers the extent to which Aboriginal writing is at best overlooked (and at worst invisible) in the Australian literary marketplace.

  • Grant, Stan. 'The Politics of Identity: We Are Trapped in the Imaginations of White Australians', The Guardian, 14 December 2015.

    Some of us are bound in our own paradox; our sense of ourselves rooted in traditions or history or suffering may sit awkwardly with the realities of our increasingly cosmopolitan, middle class, suburban lives.

    Beginning specifically with Indigenous experience of belonging and isolation in Australia, Grant expands his analysis to take in the whole of the ' increasingly homogenised and globalised world'.

  • Nolan, Maggie. 'Reading Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance: Book Clubs and Postcolonial Literary Theory', JASAL vol. 16, no. 2, 2016.

    In undertaking research with book clubs, it has become clear how little currency contemporary postcolonial approaches in literary studies have among book club readers.

    An academic article that examines the ways in which book clubs approach Kim Scott's novel of cross-cultural contact, including a book club with a special focus on issues of reconciliation.

  • Pascoe, Bruce. 'Andrew Bolt's Disappointment'. Griffith Review, vol. 36, 2012.

    I had been hoping they would be delighted by the story but it offends or embarrasses them that they have never heard of it.

    Written between the legal proceedings brought against Andrew Bolt for a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act and Pascoe's publication of Dark Emu, this essay straddles the two, discussing Aboriginal identity and culture and how they are both maintained and erased.

  • General Viewing

  • Stan Grant on the Australian Dream (IQ2 Debate)

  • Bruce Pascoe on Aboriginal Agriculture

  • Kim Scott and the Miles Franklin Oration

  • Alexis Wright and Alice Walker in Discussion, Sydney Writers Festival

  • General Listening

  • Dark Emu: Bruce Pascoe and Tony Birch in Conversation

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