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UQP is proud of its decade’s long tradition of publishing First Nations authors.
Looking for essential and inspirational Australian voices to recommend to readers right now?
Here are UQP’s 2021 must-read First Nations’ books.


After Story – Larissa Behrendt

Already declared a favourite of 2021 by legions of readers, After Story is a novel unlike any other, about Indigenous lawyer Jasmine taking her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites. Blackfulla Bookclub called the novel ‘a masterclass of when European literature meets the power of First Nations oral storytelling’ and hailed Behrendt as one of our greatest storytellers.


Dark as Last Night – Tony Birch

Another stellar collection from the Australian master of short story form, the exceptional stories in Dark as Last Night capture the importance of human connection at pivotal moments in our lives. ‘Tony Birch’s short stories are precious gems,’ says The Guardian, ‘and the pages of Dark as Last Night capture the humanity, courage and humour of characters in the midst of life.’


Dropbear – Evelyn Araluen

The bestselling Australian poetry collection of the year, the viral success of Dropbear reprinted five times since publication – has introduced Evelyn Araluen as an extraordinary new Indigenous writer and thinker. Confronting the tropes and iconography of an unreconciled nation with biting satire and lyrical fury, the Sydney Morning Herald said, ‘Dropbear can teach us all if we are willing to learn how to read, to listen, to comprehend.’


Another Day in the Colony – Chelsea Watego

Reprinted twice within ten days of publication, Chelsea Watego’s Another Day in the Colony is a groundbreaking work of non-fiction that exposes the ongoing colonial violence experienced by First Nations people in Australia. Rather than offer yet another account of ‘the Aboriginal problem,’ Watego theories a strategy for living in a society that has only ever imagined Indigenous peoples as destined to die out. A classic in the making.


Born Into This – Adam Thompson

Shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year, a Queensland Literary Award, and the Readings Prize for Fiction, Born Into This has launched an extraordinary new voice in Pakana writer Adam Thompson. ‘With Born Into This, Adam Thompson’s stories of present-day Tasmania provide a powerful response to trauma that dates from the horrors of the Black War and continues with ongoing “celebrations” of Australia/Invasion Day. The author has much to say.’ – Australian Book Review.


Flock – edited by Ellen van Neerven

A wide-ranging and captivating anthology of First Nations writing from both established and emerging authors, expertly curated and introduced by the multi-award-winning writer Ellen van Neerven. ‘Flock is a library of First Nations writing inside a single book,’ says The Saturday Paper. ‘It’s not so much about what you go looking for – van Neerven’s done that work already – but what eloquent things you stumble upon.’


Whisper Songs – Tony Birch

Revealing Tony Birch at his most lyrical and tender best, this collection of poetry confirms the author’s exceptional artistry across a range of different forms. In Whisper Songs Birch invites the reader into a tender conversation with those he loves – and has loved – the most. He also challenges the past to speak up by interrogating the archive, including documents from his own family history.


Permafrost – SJ Norman

Garnering extraordinary praise from critics, authors and readers, Permafrost is a staggeringly original collection of literary hauntings from visual and performance artist SJ Norman. Christos Tsiolkas calls these stories ‘exhilarating’, Hannah Kent declares Norman ‘a literary genius’, while Jessie Tu says ‘each story left me lingering and thirsty.’ A must-read.


how to make a basket – Jazz Money

The 2020 David Unaipon Award-winner, how to make a basket is a powerful and lyrical collection of poetry that simmers with protest and boundless love. Written in both Wiradjuri and English, how to make a basket examines the tensions of living in the Australian colony today and is both deeply personal and fiercely political as it celebrates Blak and queer love, and explores how places and bodies hold memories.

To request a reading copy or a limited edition First Nations voices, Essential Stories poster, please contact UQP.




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