Indigenous Literacy Day 2009

2009 Indigenous Literacy Project

Thanks to Twitter, I found out that today is Indigenous Literacy Day (ILD). ILD is the major fundraising event for the Indigenous Literacy Project, which aims to address the literacy crisis in Indigenous communities in remote locations.

You can help just by buying a book today!

Participating booksellers will donate to the ILP at least 5% of today’s takings, and participating publishers will donate at least 5% of their takings from titles invoiced today. Click here for a list of participating booksellers and publishers. The list includes booksellers who’ve been known to support the romance reading community, such as Booktopia and Galaxy. If you haven’t bought your uni textbooks yet, some co-op bookshops are also listed.

Click here to find out what else you can do to help the project. You can also fund a book pack to be sent to isolated communities through the Book Buzz initiative.


According to the ILP website:

Working closely with the Australian Booksellers Association and the Australian Publishers Association, The Fred Hollows Foundation purchases and supplies books and other culturally appropriate learning materials to remote communities where The Foundation works.  Communities select and order reading material from catalogues and sample books provided by The Australian Booksellers Association.  The Fred Hollows Foundation staff also identify other literacy needs.  The books are then supplied to schools, libraries, early learning centres such as crèches, women’s Centres and other identified institutions, to enhance their pool of literacy resources.

Indigenous Australian romances

The last Indigenous Australian character I can recall reading about was Adam, who is a constable in Bronwyn Parry’s books. As Darkness Falls refers to his tracking skills quite a bit (which makes sense because the plot centres around a search for a missing girl). However, he’s not one of the romantic leads.

I’ve been meaning to see Samson and Delilah—yes, it’s a film, but it’s billed as a romance, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. (Having said that, I don’t know if it has a happy ending. I suspect not, judging from what I’ve read about it.) The other non-book character that stands out in my mind is Kelly, played by Deborah Mailman, from The Secret Life of Us. I adored her. She was such a romantic!

On Twitter, @matthiadempsey and @sarahhazelton suggested chick-lit books by Anita Heiss (Random House). I’m trying to find out if I can expect a happy(ish) ending!

Do you have any recommendations for romance books by Indigenous Australian authors or that feature Indigenous Australian characters? And if you visited a bookshop today, which books did you end up buying?


  1. Kat, Melissa James (who has Indigenous family connections) had an Aboriginal romance hero some years ago in her Harlequin Mills & Boon book, Her Galahad. It was published in the Intimate Moments line, in about 2002.  However, I’m not aware of any others that I can think of.
    I certainly haven’t felt knowledgeable enough, at least at this point in my white, female life,  to write Indigenous protagonists – especially not male ones. I know enough to know that there are so many cultural subtleties and differences between Indigenous experience and my experiences as a member of a majority culture that I would probably totally stuff it up! However, I didn’t want Aboriginal people to be invisible in the community I portray in my books, either, and when Adam appeared in my head, he seemed perfect for the story. His tracking skills and Aboriginality are only one facet of his character; I hope he also comes across as a person in his own right, a young man who is a dedicated police officer, a good friend, and an active part of a broader community. At least, that’s how I think of him – how readers see him may be another matter!
    I’ll check back here to see if anyone recommends other romances with Indigenous characters, because I would love to read them.

  2. Kat says:

    Bron, what I liked about Adam was that his tracking skills were highlighted in As Darkness Falls because they were necessary for the plot. In Dark Country there wasn’t such a big focus, and he was a bit more in the background because that’s what the story required. I noticed it straight away because I was wondering if we’d see more of him.

    I’ll look up Melissa James. Harlequin back lists are a bit of a challenge to acquire!

    I’m expecting two Anita Heiss books from the library, and I’ve been told that they have happy/optimistic endings. There goes my plan to reduce my TBR pile…

  3. Allison says:

    I went to Galaxy today and picked up several Lynsay Sands, Kresley Cole and Katie Macalister as well as the new MaryJanice Davidson Undead and Unworthy and Molly Harper’s Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men.

What do you think?

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