It’s nothing new for the talented Anita Heiss to be promoting Indigenous literary achievements.
In fact, she has been a prominent author of several novels, poetry collections and non-fiction books herself over the past two decades, and a champion for the literacy of Indigenous children.
So really it’s little wonder that her Opening Address: ‘20 Reasons Why You Should Read Blak’ has already been a sell-out at the Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival which debuts this weekend.
The brainchild of a conglomerate of various writers and poetry networks, the Wheeler Centre and the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, this four-day festival running from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 of February is themed ‘Blak and Bright’.
Heiss will be joined in her address by Pauline Whyman and Greg Fryer, two Indigenous actors, who will read excerpts from 20 books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors at this celebration of black storytelling.
She will also finish off the festival by running a workshop on Sunday for those wanting guidance on how to whip-up their own work of popular fiction.
The festival will also feature over 60 Indigenous novelists, oral storytellers, poets, songwriters, playwrights and comedians, from right across the nation.
As Festival director and Indigenous playwright, Jane Harrison notes:
“We have many stories to be shared: funny, poignant, uplifting and fierce stories that enrich all of our lives. For four days, let’s read Blak, hear Blak, enjoy Blak and celebrate Blak stories.”
Other highlights include the event ‘Borrow a Rare (Living) Book’ which will allow participants to (gently) grab an Elder and settle down for a yarn and the keynote speech ‘Big Stories, Big Genres’ to be delivered by award-winning writers Tony Briggs and Bruce Pascoe who will share the urgent stories of our time, consider the tales not being told, and explore how we can pen new narratives.
Workshops on different writing styles, opportunities and grants for Indigenous writers and advice getting your stories published will also prove a great addition for the up-and-coming writers in attendance.
To see a full schedule of events and register visit the 'Blak and Bright' website.