Anita Heiss

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Dr Anita Heiss (born 1968 in Sydney) is an Australian author, presenter and commentator. She is a prolific writer working across a range of areas: non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary, travel, extending her reader's knowledge and understanding of contemporary Aboriginal life in Australia. She is a regular guest at writers' festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature.[1][self-published source?]

Anita is an advocate for Indigenous literature and literacy through her writing for adults and children and her membership of Boards and committees. She is a role model for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy and an Advocate for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador.[1][self-published source?]

Anita Heiss is an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology, Sydney.[1][self-published source?]


Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. She was born in Sydney in 1968. Her mother, Elsie Heiss née Williams, was born at Erambie Mission, Cowra in Wiradjuri country. Her father, Josef Heiss, was born in St Michael in the Lungau, Salzburg, Austria.[1][self-published source?] Heiss was educated at St Clare's College, Waverley then the University of New South Wales where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in History (Honours),1991; she gained her PhD in Communication and Media at the University of Western Sydney, 2000.[2][self-published source?] Since 2000 Heiss has undertaken writers-in- residence positions at Macquarie University, Sydney and throughout NSW. She was Deputy-Director at Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University; Communications Advisor, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts and consultant researcher / writer for the Aboriginal History website at the City of Sydney. She runs her own communications business, Curringa Communications.[3][self-published source?]. Anita was appointed to the State Library of Queensland board in 2017.[4]

Heiss has lived in Sydney for most of her life and currently resides in Brisbane, Queensland.

Main Works


  • Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (editor) (Black Inc, 2018) ISBN 9781863959810
  • Am I Black Enough For You (Random House, 2012) ISBN 9781742751924
  • Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature edited Anita Heiss and Peter Minter (Allen & Unwin Sydney 2008) ISBN 978 1 74175 438 4
  • Dhuuluu-yala, To Talk Straight: Publishing indigenous literature (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2003) ISBN 0-85575-444-3


Children's literature



Other edited books

Awards prizes

  • 2012 – Finalist: Human Rights Awards Media (non-fiction) for Am I Black Enough for You?
  • 2012 – Winner: VIC Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, 2012 for Am I Black Enough for You? [5]
  • 2011 – Winner: Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Literature for Paris Dreaming [6]
  • 2010 – Winner: Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Literature for Manhattan Dreaming
  • 2008 – Winner: Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Literature, with Peter Minter for the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature.
  • 2007 – Winner: Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Literature for Not Meeting Mr Right.
  • 2004 – Nominee: Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Literature
  • 2004 – Microsoft / Bulletin Magazine, Smart 100 (Arts and Entertainment).
  • 2003 – Winner: Inaugural Australian Society of Authors Medal (Under 35) for contribution to Australian community and life.[7]
  • 2002 – Winner: NSW Premier's History Award (Audio Visual) for Barani: the Aboriginal History of the City of Sydney [8]
  • 2002 – Shortlist: NSW Premier's History Award (Young People's History) for Who Am I? The diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937.

Scholarships / fellowships / grants

  • Writer’s Grants from the Australia Council for the Arts 1994/1996/2011
  • NSW Indigenous Arts Fellowship, 2004
  • ANZAC Fellowship (NZ Department of External Affairs) to New Zealand to meet Maori authors and publishers. June 1997


  1. ^ a b c d Heiss, Anita. "Welcome to Anita Heiss online!". Anita Heiss. Retrieved 12 February 2014. [self-published source?]
  2. ^ Heiss, Anita (2012). Am I black enough for you?. Australia: Random House. pp. 94–100, 107. ISBN 9781742751924. [self-published source?]
  3. ^ Heiss, Anita. "Questions About Anita's Life Generally". Anita Heiss. Retrieved 12 February 2014. [self-published source?]
  4. ^ "Media Statements". Queensland Government. 5 March 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing: Winner and Shortlist Announced". Wheeler Centre. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  6. ^ "17th Deadlys Winner Profiles" (PDF). Deadly Awards. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  7. ^ "ASA Medal". Australian Society of Authors. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  8. ^ "City of Sydney's Barani Website wins prestigious NSW Premier's History Awards in the audio/visual category". City of Sydney. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
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