Professor Anita Heiss


Professor Anita Heiss was born in Gadigal country in central New South Wales and is a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation.  One of Australia’s most recognised authors, a keynote speaker, a lecturer, and a performer.  Anita has won many distinguished awards for her outstanding literary contributions as well as being a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Aboriginal Congress of Australia, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance.


Anita has worked in remote communities encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories and is a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an Ambassador of Worawa Aboriginal College and the GO Foundation, and the Sydney Swans.


Anita has a new book to be released on 5 May, its title Bila-Yarrudhanggalangdhuray –  River of Dreams’.  


The synopsis of the story has been published online by the publisher Simon and Schuster.  The article in full can be found at


Bila-Yarrudhanggalangdhuray –  River of Dreams’


Gundagai, 1852

The powerful Murrumbidgee River surges through town leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is a stark reminder that while the river can give life, it can just as easily take it away.

Wagadhaany is one of the lucky ones. She survives. But is her life now better than the fate she escaped? Forced to move away from her miyagan, she walks through each day with no trace of dance in her step, her broken heart forever calling her back home to Gundagai.


Set on timeless Wiradyuri country, where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) is an epic story of love, loss and belonging.



Anita will be appearing online at the Sydney Writers Festival to talk further about her new novel on 28 April 2021.  Details of this event  and how to book tickets can be found at Anita Heiss: Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (



‘A powerful story of family, place and belonging.’ – Kate Grenville, author of A Room Made of Leaves

‘Engrossing and wonderful storytelling. I really loved these strong, brave Wiradyuri characters.’ – Melissa Lucashenko, author of Too Much Lip

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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts

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