Dr Anita Heiss

Professor of Communications

Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)
+61 7 336 56712


Dr Anita Heiss AM is a proud member of the Wiradyuri nation of central New South Wales and one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors publishing across genres including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s fiction. Anita’s children’s literature includes Who Am I? the diary of Mary Talence, Our Race for Reconciliation, Harry’s Secret, Matty’s Comeback, and Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic, co-written with Adam Goodes and Micheal O’Loughlin. She also wrote two kid's novels with students from La Perouse Public School - Yirra and Her Deadly Dog Demon and Demon Guards the School Yard.

Anita’s non-fiction works include Am I Black Enough for You?, Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight) – Publishing Aboriginal Literature, and as editor, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia and The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature which she co-edited with Peter Minter. Her adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms was shortlisted for the QLD Literary Awards, longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize and was the University of Canberra 2020 Book of the Year. Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray won the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Prize for Indigenous Writing, was shortlisted for the 2021 HNSA ARA Historical Novel (Adult Category) and the 2022 ABIA Awards, and longlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize. In 2004 Anita was listed in The Bulletin magazine’s “Smart 100”. Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero). As an advocate for Indigenous literacy, Anita has worked in remote communities as a role model and encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories. On an international level she has performed her own work and lectured on Aboriginal literature across the globe at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany, China, India and New Zealand. Anita is a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and a proud Ambassador of Worawa Aboriginal College, the GO Foundation and the Sydney Swans. Anita is a Professor of Communications at the University of QLD and is on the board of the National Justice Project, Aboriginal Art Co and Circa Contemporary Theatre.

Anita’s first play Tiddas, produced by La Boite Theatre had its world premiere at the 2022 Brisbane Festival.

Anita loves chocolate, running and being a creative disruptor.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Western Sydney


  • Heiss, Anita (2023). Red Dust Running. Australia: Audible.

  • Heiss, Anita and Campbell, Samantha (2023). Bidhi Galing (Big Rain). Cammeray, NSW, Australia: Simon & Schuster.

  • Heiss, Anita (2023). Avoiding Mr Right. Cammeray, NSW, Australia: Simon & Schuster.

View all Publications



Book Chapter

  • Heiss, Anita (2019). Introduction to Charmaine Papertalk Green’s Nganajungu Yagu. Nganajungu Yagu. (pp. 1-2) Melbourne, VIC Australia: Cordite.

  • Heiss, Anita (2015). Not all writers began as readers. The simple act of reading. (pp. 99-109) edited by Debra Adelaide. North Sydney, NSW Australia: Random House.

  • Heiss, Anita (2013). Am I Black Enough for You? (excerpt). Ora Nui: A collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature. (pp. 61-67) edited by Anton Blank and Kerry Reed-Gilbert. Auckland, New Zealand: Anton\Blank#Limited.

  • Heiss, Anita (2008). Aboriginal Children's Literature: More than pretty pictures. Just Words? Australian authors writing for justice. (pp. 102-117) edited by Bernadette Brennan. St Lucia, QLD Australia: UQP.

  • Heiss, Anita (2007). Indigenous book publishing. Making Books: Contemporary Australian Publishing. (pp. 255-265) edited by David Carter and Anne Galligan. St Lucia, QLD Australia: UQP.

  • Heiss, Anita (2005). O is for o-literature. The Ideas Book. (pp. 170-178) edited by Dale Spender and Phillip Adams. Brisbane, QLD Australia: UQP.

  • Heiss, Anita (2001). Aboriginal Identity and Its Effects on Writing. (Ad)ressing Our Words: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures. (pp. 205-232) edited by Armand Garnet Ruffi. Penticton, BC Canada: Theytus Books.

Journal Article

Other Outputs