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EDITING editing aboriginal voices

Editing Aboriginal voices

Editing Aboriginal writing: is it different?

Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Indigenous?

Australian Aboriginal English

Representing people's voices in print: English words

Representing people's voices in print: language words

Glossing Aboriginal languages

CATE workshop, August 2009

Useful resources for those editing Aboriginal writing

Editing Aboriginal Voices

This section of the Bruderlin MacLean web site is devoted to the practice of editing Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing. These are simply the thoughts of me, Mark MacLean. It includes ideas and opinions that I have developed from my experiences as an editor and publisher working with Aboriginal authors and with Aboriginal-controlled publishing houses. I welcome your input: all fair criticism and comment will be acknowledged in a spirit of openness.

There's a long tradition of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people writing and publishing in English. In May 2008, Allen & Unwin published the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, edited by Anita Heiss and Peter Minter, which begins with a letter from Bennelong to Governor Philip in 1796.

As I write, over 210 years later, there are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors who write commercially and have successful careers in writing. But as an editor commissioned by a publisher to work with an Aboriginal author you are likely to find yourself working with an inexperienced or first-time Aboriginal author, an Aboriginal author working with a non-Aboriginal collaborator/co-author, or a combination of the two.

It's this kind of writing that I'm keen to discuss as it's most often the area where people's knowledge and understanding of the publishing process is weakest, where invention and re-invention of styles and patterns most commonly takes place, and where editors new to the field most often find themselves stranded without an "industry standard" to refer to.

Below are links to the pages that discuss issues that crop up regularly. That's not to say they're the only issues you'll deal with; they're simply the ones that I find come back again and again. As I said at the top I welcome critical input. This isn't a blog but I shall incorporate your comments as quickly as I can; just send me an email.

Editing Aboriginal voices

A condensed version of the Blog text appears as the lead article in the November 2010 edition of Blue Pencil, the newsletter of the Society of Editors (NSW). You can read the article 'Editing Aboriginal voices' here; just download the Blue Pencil (883 KB pdf).

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