Aboriginal Writing Today
A.I.A.S. Canberra, 112 pp, $9.95 pb
This book is a collection of papers from the first Aboriginal Writer’s Conference, held at Murdoch University in February 1983. Despite the long (unexplained) lapse between the conference and the appearance of this book, the papers raise a number of urgent and complex problems, for writers and commentators.
If there is one theme which emerges from the papers as a whole, it lies in the reiterated charge that black literature in Australia has been badly handled by the critical and academic communities. A number of speakers comment on the ‘narrow, ideologically loaded criteria of the currently dominant white literary establishment’ and its rejection of Aboriginal literature. This factor is given as the reason for the dismissal of much black literature as mere ‘protest’; it is coupled with the domination by whites of the means of publication as the most pressing problem confronting black authors.