Tjanara is a Wakka Wakka/Wulli Wulli woman from Central Queensland and carries the traditions of her clan through medicine practice, being a Songwoman and teaching Aboriginal Law & Spirituality to people throughout the world. Tjanara is a published poet, writer, performer of traditional song and dance and contemporary Murri artist. For 30 years Tjanara has been working with groups and organisations in Australia and overseas in transformational leadership mentoring, cultural education and Indigenous knowledge systems, cultural systemic change and sacred leadership. Tjanara is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Canberra and a PhD Researcher/lecturer at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. She has been an academic at five Australian Universities, and a Director at two, including as Foundation Director at Charles Sturt University, NSW and Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Education at the University of Melbourne. Tjanara has extensive public service background in the Federal Government and NSW/QLD State Government as a Director and Senior Policy Advisor in Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Office of Indigenous Policy Co-ordination, Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a number of statutory authorities.
Tjanara has travelled and worked extensively overseas, in Italy, Denmark, India, Europe and the USA and Canada, delivering Keynote speeches at International conferences, workshops at International Indigenous “Healing Our Spirits Worldwide” Conference and Indigenous International Education Conferences, the Soul Conference at St Catherine’s University, Minnesota and at national Indigenous Psychology, Education, Community Development and Higher Education conferences. She attended the 2013 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples as the Chair of the Foundation for Indigenous Recovery & Development as a member of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation (IP)) convened by the Social Justice Commissioner Australian Human Rights Commission .
Tjanara is an inspiring co-creator of engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through using her own stories, art, writings, songs and dances passed to her from generations of knowledge and wisdom in her clans and the shared CIRCLEs she co-creates for holding healing and shared story/history.
Tjanara wrote The Red Earth as a novel. It became a finalist in the David Unaipon Award, QLD Premiers’ Literary in 2010. A Long Way from No Go, her memoir, is based on The Red Earth. Tjanara is a published poet in Penquin’s Inside Black Australia An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry Edited by Kevin Gilbert. Tjanara has a PhD ‘Tjukurpa Pulka – The Road to Eldership from the Australian National University gained in 2018.
Dr Anita Heiss is an author, presenter, academic, commentator, creative disruptor and proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Her latest book is Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. She is a multi award-winning author, academic, presenter and commentator, creative disruptor and proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW.
Anita has written non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary, and travel articles. An advocate for Indigenous education, she is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards.
She has performed her works nationally (Sydney Writers' Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Writers' Week, Melbourne Writers' Festival, Byron Bay Writers' Festival, Message Sticks, Brisbane Writers Festival, Somerset Festival of Literature, Watermark and Wordstorm, among others) as well as internationally in Spain, Austria, the USA, Canada, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, China, France, the UK, Tahiti and New Caledonia. She has also been published widely in journals, anthologies and on-line.
She currently lives in Brisbane where she Manages the Epic Good Foundation and sits on the Board of the State Library of QLD.