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"A story told well can move people"

5 Jul 2021 | Thomas Mayor

Hardie Grant Explore is proud to publish First Nations voices.

To celebrate NAIDOC Week and recognise its 2021 theme Heal Country! we asked several First Nations authors and artists published by Hardie Grant about their publishing experiences and the impact of storytelling on national heritage and future generations.

Interview with author Thomas Mayor

Thomas MayorWhat does your role as a published writer and author mean to you?

I became a writer and publisher because I am campaigning for First Nations rights. I have learnt that a story told well can move people. Having the opportunity to write books means that I can help my people by educating them about our struggles, and also tell the truth about our history and needs to the entire nation.

What do you most hope readers will take away from reading your books?

If readers are moved by what I write, I want them to take action. I want them to get political about First Nations issues so that we can change the nation to one we can be proud of – proud of our humanity and a culture that is over one-hundred thousand years old. 

How do books and shared stories impact future generations and our national heritage? 

Australians must understand First Nations Peoples perspectives to be able to do better in the future, and the books and stories we write help guide both learning and unlearning. The more books and stories we publish about First Nations and who we are as Australians, the more differences in perspectives and experiences we pass on to the next generation and manifest in our collective heritage, and this can only improve who we are. 

What stories and voices do you want to see more of on future Australian bookshelves?Dear Son front cover

I would love to see more Indigenous poets. I have been inspired by the young poets published in Alison Whittaker’s Fire Front, and Desert Pea Media’s Homeland Calling. I have enjoyed Kirli Saunder’s work as well, and how she has brought both prose and truth telling to the next generation.

You’re about to publish your fourth book with Hardie Grant this year, how did your writing experience change for this particular book? 

I was much more confident writing my new book, Dear Son. I needed to be. It is a very personal epistolary, letters to my son and father, so every moment of writing was charged with emotions. It is also an anthology, so I was able to use what I had learnt from Bernadette Foley, the editor of two of my books now, to guide other first time or emerging writers.