18 October - 22 October 2023


the hawke centre & UNISA CREATIVE
at the
ubud writers & readers Festival


400x600 Debra Dank Book Cover.jpg


The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and UniSA Creative are proud to present three sessions at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (18 - 22 October 2023) with UniSA Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Debra Dank.

Dr Debra Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman. Her memoir of family, community and Country, We Come With This Place, was recently awarded a record four out of fourteen NSW Premier's Literary Awards - including the top gong, Book of the Year. She was also awarded the Indigenous Writers' Prize and received awards for non-fiction and new writing. We Come With This Place also received the Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal, with the judges calling the book, ‘a generous, moving gift to all Australians, showing ways of being in relationship with one another that build on foundations of truth-telling story and hope.’

Debra will be joining three Panel Discussions at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival:

Decolonization In Writing Practice: Paving The Path To Equality
Thursday 19 October 2023, 11.15am - 12.15pm 

Eva Fernandes speaks with author and social commentator Dr Debra Dank, scent designer and author Tanaïs, and ethnologist Dr Justin Wejak on decolonization in their writing practices. More Information

Narrative Shaping: Past Into The Future
Friday 20 October 2023, 4.45pm - 5.45pm

Dr Debra Dank, Anita Heiss, and Kevin Jared Hosein guide you through a journey into the realm of storytelling. Listen to these contemporary voices as they celebrate the profound wisdom gleaned from their communities, communities, moderated by journalist and writer, David Sly. More Information.

Nonlinear Narratives
Sunday 22 October 2023, 11.30am - 12.30pm

Writers, Chris Tse, Daryl Qilin Yam, and Dr Debra Dank will discuss their non-linear storytelling approach, weaving the past into the future, during an immersive and thought-provoking conversation moderated by journalist Annika Blau. More Information.

Earlier this year, Dr Debra Dank was in conversation with UniSA Senior Research Fellow, Associate Professor Sue Joseph, discussing her book, We Come With This Place. Access a video of this conversation, A Story of Souls.


dr debra dank
author &
uniSA visiting research fellow

Dr Debra Dank is a proud Gudanji/Wakaja woman, hailing from the Barkly Tablelands in the Northern Territory. With almost four decades of experience in education, Dank has held various roles across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. She has served as a class teacher, special education teacher, senior teacher, regional consultant, regional manager, lecturer, senior lecturer, and Head of School. Dank has worked in both urban and remote areas of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and the Northern Territory.

Dank's professional interests centre around the practice of narrative in Aboriginal communities, particularly the significance of semiotics in comprehending the range of communicative mechanisms and functions utilized in this practice. Her book, We Come with This Place (Echo 2022), has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition, with its inclusion on the shortlist for the prestigious Stella Prize and was recently awarded the NSW Premier's Literary Award across four categories: the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, the Indigenous Writers' Prize, and Book of the Year. Her book also received the Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal.

Articles and Further Reading:

Indigenous author Debra Dank sweeps NSW Premier’s Literary Awards with memoir We Come With This Place
National Indigenous Time: Debra Dank weaves childhood stories into 'honest' Gudanji tribute book
RN Radio: We Come With This Place by Debra Dank review – a jewel to rival Australia’s great desert memoirs


400x290 Debra Dank2.jpg

Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and unisa creative

UniSA Hawke Creative Transp.png

While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.