Author Interview: Anita Heiss


Anita Heiss, author of Who Am I?, Yirra and most recently Am I Black Enough For You? is a talented author with a wide appeal. Turning her hand to adult as well as children’s novels, Anita adeptly tackles important issues such as the Stolen Generation in Who Am I? whilst displaying her intelligent, witty humour in her series of adult novels, (start with Not Meeting Mr Right).

Anita is a recipient of many awards (including three Deadly Awards) and is a very entertaining spokesperson. She is a passionate ambassador for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, The National Year of Reading 2012, and a board member of NASCA. This is one busy lady …. I can’t tell you how delighted I am that she managed to find time to answer My Book Corner’s questions!

Tell us about you in 25 words or less.

I’m a passionate, positive, chocolate-craving, family-oriented, widely-travelled, library-loving, Tiffany-collecting, beach-going, workshop-giving, fast-talking, proud Wiradjuri woman!

What makes you happy?

Sunshine, positive people, chocolate, time with my family, walking the streets of Manhattan, working in schools.

Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to … yet?

I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico but I haven’t been there because I haven’t made it a priority. Usually things happen when I decide they will happen.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Describe it to us. That’s a hard question. I have written all my books in different places. My next book is set in Brisbane, and I loved being able to sit at the State Library of Qld overlooking the river and punching the keys. It helps to write as much as I can in the city where the story is set, but that isn’t always possible.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

As cliché as it sounds, I really wish everyone had enough food. We should’ve been able to manage that by now, and I can’t understand how governments globally allow whole nations to go without such basics.

What’s the best thing about being a published author?

Knowing that someone somewhere takes time out of their lives to read your words. That is so awesome!

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by everyday people in everyday situations.

What is your worst habit?

I am the most impatient person on the planet, and I hate myself for that.

Your favourite word(s) and why?

I love the word serendipity because, umm, I love the movie with John Cusack.

Tell us more about your role as ambassador for the ILF.

Like the other Ambassadors of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, my role is to raise awareness around the issues of literacy particularly in remote Aboriginal communities in Australia. Wherever possible it’s about letting people know the unfathomable disparity in statistics between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in terms of literacy and why it is so. I also try to be part of the process of trying to raise funds to get appropriate books into the hands of otherwise bookless Indigenous kids.

Did we forget anything?

Did I tell you I love chocolate?

Just for fun

Tea or coffee? Skim cappuccino – but really prefer water ?

Paper books or e-books? Tree-books not e-books!

Vegemite or Marmite? Vegemite, of course!

Write or type? Type- it’s faster and neater!

Poetry or prose? Prose!

Beach or bush? The beach, Maroubra is my favourite.

Hot or cold? Hot

Photography by Amanda James

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