Fifteen years after its first publication, Black Words White Page remains as fresh as ever. This award-winning study – the first comprehensive treatment of the nature and significance of Indigenous Australian literature – was based upon the author’s doctoral research at The Australian National University and was first published by UQP in 1989. Adam Shoemaker combines historical and literary analysis as he explores the diversity and difference of writings that have gained increasing strength and visibility since that time. Shoemaker’s special focus is those dynamic years between 1963 and 1988, when advances in Indigenous affairs were paralleled by a rapid growth of all types of Black Australian literature. He examines the achievements of leading figures in the Aboriginal movement such as Jack Davis, Kevin Gilbert, Charles Perkins and Oodgeroo. He also provides intriguing insights into the socio-political contexts of the time while tracing the history of black-white relations in Australia. Black Words White Page also offers some provocative re-evaluations of white Australian writers Xavier Herbert, Ion Idriess, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Patrick White and Judith Wright.
Winner of the 1990 Walter McRae Russell Award of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature
Adam Shoemaker is Professor and Dean of Arts at The Australian National University in Canberra. He came to Australia from Canada in the 1980s and has had a succession of public, international and academic positions since that time, including three years spent with the Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities. He has written or edited seven books dealing in whole or part with Indigenous literatures and race relations, including Paperbark (1990), Mudrooroo: A Critical Study (1993) and A Sea Change: Australian Writing and Photography (1998); and (together with Stephen Muecke) David Unaipon’s Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines (2001) and – most recently – the French-language work Les Aborigènes d’Australie (Gallimard, 2002).