Queen's Birthday honour for Professor Anita Heiss

13 June 2022

Author, writer, poet, academic and proud Wiradjuri woman Dr Anita Heiss has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to tertiary Indigenous studies, and to the Arts.

Professor Anita Heiss. Photo Credit Andrew Yeo.

Dr Heiss, a Professor of Communications in UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, also recently won the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers’ Prize.

“Most of us don’t see ourselves as others do, we just get up and do ‘our thing’ every day,” Professor Heiss said.

“The nomination humbles me because someone, somewhere felt or believed I contribute something meaningful to Australian society, and they took the time to put their opinions forward, and that is just an extraordinarily humbling thing to me.

People often ask what my proudest moment is in terms of the arts and I’d have to say carving out a space in Australian publishing as a First Nations author of commercial fiction,  telling our truths in Australia history and our excellence in the contemporary world.

"And in terms of communal artistic projects, I’m most proud being part of the anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (2018) and editing the Growing Up Wiradjuri anthology with eight of my elders, due for release in September this year.

“Being recognised in the tertiary space was a surprise to me, but again, you never know the impact you have in a lecture theatre or classroom. I’m just a girl from the burbs,  and being the first Aboriginal person to graduate with a PhD from Western Sydney University in 2001 – at the time I believe there were only a dozen or so in the country - was an exciting time for my family because I was also the first in my family to go to university.”