Reader engagement & Anita Heiss on storytelling, schedules & social media

How do you engage with readers? What’s the etiquette when replying to messages and tags on social media? Do famous authors really reply to all their fan mail? And what are the most memorable messages authors have received from readers?

We discuss what works and what feels weird and Kate outlines her (very short) plan for this time around.

Then Kate speaks with a writer who has been on our wish list since the beginning!

Dr Anita Heiss writes non-fiction, commercial women’s fiction, children’s literature and poetry. A proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW, Anita is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and in demand as a public speaker and advocate.

Anita’s first book was Sacred Cows (1995),  and since then her writing career has spanned fourteen books including her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? (2012) and novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms (2016), which was shortlisted for the Indigenous Writers Prize in the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. In 2018 Anita edited the Black Inc anthology Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia. Find the complete list of Anita’s work here.

The conversation covers:

  • letter writing
  • the responsibility to attempt storytelling
  • using Wiradjuri language in her new book River of Dreams (2021)
  • writing across genres and audiences
  • collaborating with other writers and with young writers
  • plotting and planning
  • schedules, calendars and routines

Anita’s advice to first time published authors

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Enjoy the moment.

Recommended books

Debut: Plains of Promise by Alexis Wright

5 books by Deadly Women:

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Girls Can Fly by Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina

Throat by Ellen Van Neerven

Kindred by Kirli Saunders

The Cherry Picker’s Daughter by Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Find out more about Dr Anita Heiss via her website, or follow her adventures on Instagram or Twitter.



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