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Truth-telling in Historical Fiction: The Challenges of Writing Shared Histories

21 October 2023 | 2:00 pm - 1 June 2024 | 2:55 pm

Truth-telling in historical ficiton

The Conference was both a live and online event with in-person sessions livestreamed to a virtual audience. All recordings of in-person plenary sessions, interviews and panels are included in your access ticket. There is no option to buy recordings of individual sessions.



The colonial past of Australia and New Zealand is increasingly being scrutinised to consider how shared histories should be reinterpreted. What challenges do First Nations’ writers face when telling their truths? How can First Nations history be reframed in relation to the settler colonial narrative? How should non Indigenous authors approach including previously erased history in their novels? Madison Shakespeare discusses the role of historical fiction in truth-telling and connecting histories with Whiti Hereaka, Craig Cormick and Karen Wyld.


About Madison Shakespeare

Identifying proudly as an East coast salt-water First Nation person of Australia, Madison is a multi-disciplinary lawyer, filmmaker, artist and scholar who has developed extensive academic and pedagogical experience writing and coordinating all units of the Indigenous Major at Western Sydney University. Whilst still leading the Indigenous Major she is also engaged in decolonising cultural interface research at Flinders University and is privileged to learn from and collaborate with First Nations Peoples of Australia and globally.

About Whiti Hereaka

Whiti Hereaka is an award-winning novelist and playwright of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Tumatawera, Tainui and Pākehā descent, based in Wellington. She teaches Creative Writing at Massey University. She is the author of four novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice, and the award-winning YA novels Bugs, Legacy and Kurangaituku. Legacy won the New Zealand Children’s and Young Adult Book Award for YA fiction in 2019 and Kurangaituku was awarded the 2022 Jann Medlicott Acorn Award for fiction in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and was long listed for the Dublin Literary Award, 2023.

About Craig Cormick

Craig Cormick OAM is an award-winning author of over 40 works of fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. He is former Chair of the ACT Writers Centre and has been a writer in residence in Malaysia and in Antarctica. Craig enjoys messing about with history just about as much as history enjoys messing about with him. His most recent books for the children are the What If Histories of Australia series (Big Sky Publishing) and his most recent book for adults is On A Barbarous Coast – co-written with Indigenous author Harold Ludwick (Allen and Unwin, 2020).

About Karen Wyld

Karen Wyld is a freelance writer and author living by the sea on Kaurna Yarta, south of Adelaide. Recent books are Where the Fruit Falls (UWAP), recipient of the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, and 2022 CBCA Honour Book Heroes, Rebels and Innovators: Inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from history (Hachette). Karen was awarded the 2022 Tangkanungku Pintyanthi Fellowship.


Any queries should be directed to hnsaevents@gmail.com


21 October 2023 | 2:00 pm
1 June 2024 | 2:55 pm
Event Category:


Room 2

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