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Sovereign Stories

Sovereign Stories artwork by Kambarni

Sovereign Stories


10 years of black&write!

Overview | Books | Authors | Editors

black&write! books continue storytelling traditions to celebrate, share and strengthen culture in a wide range of texts from children’s books to adult fiction to poetry. 

Which ones have you read?

Book cover of Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson

Song of the Crocodile

Author: Nardi Simpson
Publisher: Hachette Australia 

Darnmoor is the home of the Billymil family, three generations who have lived in this 'gateway town'. Race relations between Indigenous and settler families are fraught, though the rigid status quo is upheld through threats and soft power rather than the overt violence of yesteryear. As progress marches forwards, Darnmoor and its surrounds undergo rapid social and environmental changes, but as some things change, some stay exactly the same. The Billymil family are watched (and sometimes visited) by ancestral spirits and spirits of the recently deceased, who look out for their descendants and attempt to help them on the right path. When the town's secrets start to be uncovered the town will be rocked by a violent act that forever shatters a century of silence.

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Book cover of Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Terra Nullius

Author: Claire G. Coleman

In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.

  • SHORTLISTED for the Stella Prize 2018
  • HIGHLY COMMENDED in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
  • SHORTLISTED for the ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers 2018
  • SHORTLISTED for the Aurealis Award for a Science Fiction Novel 2017
  • LONGLISTED for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2018
  • NOMINATED for Ditmar Award Best New Talent 2018

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Book cover of My Father's Shadow by Jannali Jones

My Father's Shadow

Author: Jannali Jones

Kaya is completing her Higher School Certificate when she is woken in the middle of the night by her mother. They are to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father is ‘not coming back’. He has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals.

Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying. Her best friend, Jenna, has gone overseas and Kaya is trying to make sense of what is really happening.

Gunai author Jannali Jones has crafted a thrilling story which stays on the edge right to the end.

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Lemons in the Chicken Wire by Alison Whittaker

Lemons in the Chicken Wire

Author: Alison Whittaker

From a remarkable new voice in Indigenous writing comes this highly original collection of poems bristling with stunning imagery and gritty textures. At times sensual, always potent, Lemons in the Chicken Wire delivers a collage of work that reflects rural identity through a rich medley of techniques and forms. It is an audacious, lyrical and linguistically lemon flavoured poetry debut that possesses a rare edginess and seeks to challenge our imagination beyond the ordinary. Alison Whittaker demonstrates that borders, whether physical or imagined, are no match for our capacity for love.

  • SHORTLISTED Scanlon Award 2016
  • SHORTLISTED ASAL Awards — Mary Gilmore Award 2017

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Book cover of Becoming Kirrali Lewis by Jane Harrison

Becoming Kirrali Lewis

Author: Jane Harrrison

Set within the explosive cultural shifts of the 1960s and 1980s, Becoming Kirrali Lewis chronicles the journey of a young Aboriginal teenager as she leaves her home town in rural Victoria to take on a law degree in Melbourne in 1985. Adopted at birth by a white family, Kirrali doesn't question her cultural roots until a series of life-changing events force her to face up to her true identity.

  • SHORTLISTED Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (YA category) 2016
  • HIGHLY COMMENDED Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2016

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Book cover of Rift Breaker by Tristan Michael Savage

Rift Breaker

Author: Tristan Michael Savage

After conducting welding repairs on the outer hull of a space vessel, token human and lowly engineer Milton Lance returns to a silent, gloomy interior. The crew are dead, and the only survivor he can find is an annoying, pointy-eared simian. When a mysterious gun-toting woman rescues the stranded pair, an unlikely trio is formed. But escaping the ship is the easy part, for Milton discovers he is not an ordinary human at all, but a saviour of worlds. Rift Breaker is a sci-fi action adventure driven by distinctive characters, and explores themes of alienation, identity and independence.

  • WINNER Aurealis Awards — Kris Hembury Encouragement Award 2014

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Book cover of Making the Team by Scott Prince and David Hartley

Deadly D and Justice Jones: Making the Team

Author: Scott Prince and Dave Hartley

Eleven-year-old Dylan has to move from Mt Isa to Brisbane and he’s not happy. But as soon as he gets to Flatwater State School he finds a former Mount Isa Miner’s footy supporter in his principal and a ‘Broncos tragic’ as a teacher. He also makes a friend in Justice Jones and an enemy in Jared Knutz. Dylan is cursed with an abnormality transforming him into a fully-grown man whenever he gets angry. Always a worry, the ‘curse’ proves to be a blessing in the city when his alter ego attracts the interest of the Broncos during a class excursion to watch the team train. Dylan becomes ‘Deadly D’ – a star player with the fire to rival even the great Prince! But how will he continue to keep the ‘curse’ a secret?

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Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas

Calypso Summer

Author: Jared Thomas

Meet Calypso, a young Nukunu man in Rasta guise, fresh out of high school with nowhere to go. After failing to snag his dream job, Calypso starts packing shelves at a local health food shop where he feels pressured to help the owner with his out-there plans to gather native plants for natural remedies. His mother points him in the direction of his family living in the Southern Flinders Ranges and, with the support of a sassy, smart Ngadjuri girl whose passion for cricket rivals his own, he discovers that his people, their land and their culture are the perfect medicine.

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Book cover of Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ruby Moonlight

Author: Ali Cobby Eckermannt

Ruby Moonlight is a verse novel that centres around the impact of colonisation in mid-north South Australia around 1880. Ruby, refugee of a massacre, shelters in the woods where she befriends an Irishman trapper. The poems convey how fear of discovery is overcome by the need for human contact, which, in a tense unravelling of events, is forcibly challenged by an Aboriginal lawman. The natural world is richly observed and Ruby’s courtship is measured by the turning of the seasons.

  • WINNER Deadly Awards (Outstanding Achievement in Literature) 2012
  • WINNER Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2013
  • WINNER Book of the Year Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary and History Awards 2013


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Book cover of Bakir and Bi by Jillian Boyd

Bakir and Bi

Author: Jillian Boyd (author) and Tori-Jay Mordey (illustrator)

Bakir and Bi is based on a Torres Strait Islander creation story with illustrations by 18-year-old Tori-Jay Mordey. Bakir (rock) and Mar (storm bird) live on a remote island called Egur with their two young children. While fishing on the beach Bakir comes across a very special pelican (Bakir's totem is a pelican) named Bi. A famine occurs, and life on the island is no longer harmonious. One day Bakir and Bi disappear and Mar and the children are forced to make the journey to another island by canoe... and so begins the adventure.

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Book cover of Rise of the Fallen by Teagan Chilcott

Rise of the Fallen

Author: Teagan Chilcott

Rise of the Fallen is a young adult paranormal romance, the first in a series of novels with demons, angels and elementals at war for power. This contemporary, super-sharp story with sardonic humour features a feisty main character in Emilie and a love triangle. The battles take place in familiar settings: shopping malls, street corners, the Australian bushland and up and down the Queensland coast. Emilie, fire elemental, and Cael, water elemental, are wanted by the entire demonic realm. Lying low in the human realm – as students at a Brisbane school – Emilie encounters the mysterious and charming Soul, and soon finds herself lost in the very world she's been running from for centuries.

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Book cover of Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson

Grace Beside Me

Author: Sue McPherson

A warmly rendered story of life in a small town that interweaves the mundane with the profound and the spiritual. Told through the eyes of teenager, Fuzzy Mac, awkward episodes of teen rivalry and romance sit alongside the mystery of Nan’s visions and a ghostly encounter. Against a backdrop of quirky characters, including the holocaust survivor who went to school with Einstein and the little priest always rushing off to bury someone before the heat gets to them, Grace Beside Me is full of humour and timely wisdom.

  • FINALIST Deadly Awards (Outstanding Achievement in Literature) 2012
  • SHORTLISTED Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (YA category) 2013
  • Released as children’s TV series with NITV/ABC/Foxtel 2018

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More black&write!

Reading and Writing - Internships
black&write! fellows are brilliant writers with distinct experiences, voices and styles from across the continent.
Learn more
Three people are sitting at a table. The one person facing the camera is holding the book 'Terra Nullius' and is smiling to the side.
black&write! Editing Internships
As part of our writing and editing program, black&write! periodically provides internships to aspiring First Nations editors.
Learn more
A collection of the black&write! published books in a pile. The books are sitting on a brown table.
Writing fellowships
Each year black&write! offers two Fellowships for unpublished manuscripts by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers.
Learn more