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UQP to publish a First Nations Classic series in 2023
Posted 29.11.2022

UQP to publish a First Nations Classic series in 2023

UQP is excited to announce the publication of a First Nations Classics series to be released in June 2023. The first instalment of the series features eight award-winning titles dating back to 1988 by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, with new introductions from contemporary authors:

The First Nations Classics series ranges across genres, including memoir, novels, short stories and poetry. It also showcases a number of Unaipon Award winners, including the inaugural winner from 1988, Graeme Dixon’s poetry collection Holocaust Island, which has been out of print.

Publisher Aviva Tuffield says: ‘The First Nations Classics series recognises the cultural and literary significance of many books by First Nations writers across the decades, along with an awareness that some of those titles are no longer in print or front of mind for today’s readers.

This series will generate renewed interest for these books and their authors – both individually and collectively – and ensure them the contemporary audience they deserve. This important publishing initiative has been assisted by funding from the Australia Council and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, and we thank them for their support.’

Series Editor Yasmin Smith says: ‘I have loved working on UQP’s First Nations Classics series – a gathering of our most prominent Indigenous voices who continuously, as they have always done, revive the literary landscape of this continent. Over the decades UQP has had the longstanding privilege of publishing many important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors.

I hope this series will provide readers a renewed appetite, a greater awareness and a new thoughtfulness towards Indigenous stories and culture. The First Nations Classics are essential reading for all generations.’

About the series

The inspiration for UQP’s First Nations Classics series lies in the richness and cultural importance of First Nations writing on this continent and in the longstanding role UQP has had in publishing those works. For almost four decades, UQP has been the beneficiary of the many incredible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers who have entrusted us with their words and their stories.

UQP was the first mainstream Australian publisher to set up a list specifically for Indigenous authors, the Black Australian Writers series; moreover, in 1988 UQP established the David Unaipon Award, in honour of one of the earliest published Indigenous writers, David Unaipon. The Unaipon Award is now over thirty years old and has launched the writing careers of some of this continent’s most significant authors.

UQP is very proud of its history of publishing Indigenous authors. With this First Nations Classics series we aim to bring new readers and renewed attention to some brilliant, timeless books – across all genres – that are as important, engaging and relevant today as they ever were on first publication.

About the cover design

The design for the First Nations Classics series is intended to highlight and showcase the vibrancy, diversity and nuance of First Nations authors, their voices, and the important stories they share. The covers have been designed to make sure they are recognisable as a collective set but still allow for individuality to feature, with unique colour combinations and illustrative patterns giving the reader a window into the story within.

About the artist

Jenna Lee is a Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri woman with mixed Asian (Chinese, Japanese and Filipino) and Anglo-Australian ancestry. Lee is a practising interdisciplinary artist with formal qualifications in graphic design who continues to work as an independent designer. Lee specialises in culturally informed book cover design and exhibition identification and catalogue design for the arts sector, finding great joy in working collaboratively with First Nations authors, poets, curators and artists, while allowing their overlapping passions of typesetting, design and art to collide.

The First Nations Classics will each have an RRP of $19.99 and will be in stores from 30 May. Pre-orders will be available through booksellers and the UQP website in early 2023.

Readers can look forward to more First Nations Classics in 2024.

For more information please contact marketing@uqp.com.au.

UQP thanks the Australia Council and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for their assistance with this project.