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Dr Anita Heiss, a proud Wiradyuri woman and one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors, will curate a new imprint, Bundyi, at Simon & Schuster Australia.

Bundyi, a Wiradyuri word meaning ‘to share with me’, will focus on cultivating First Nations talent in the industry by publishing First Nations authors, edited and designed by First Nations people. In her role as Publisher at Large, Heiss will commission across fiction and non-fiction.

Anita Heiss says: ‘Having been in the industry as an author and advisor since 1996, I’m excited about the role of Publisher at Large, because I know that the only way we will see First Nations people truly sovereign in this space, is to have us as publishers of our own stories. I am thankful that the team at Simon & Schuster understand that the responsibility for change in the sector lies with the current mainstream publishers acting as mentors, and eventually moving over to allow us to learn, and to do what Australian publishing has needed for a long time: for us to have control over the way we are represented on the page, and in the national narrative.

It was a pleasure to work with the 100% Aboriginal-owned Iscariot media in developing a logo that captures the meaning of Bundyi. The logo represents the flow of the three rivers of Wiradyuri country – the Kilari, the Marrambidya and the Wambool – as well as the flow of creativity. The author, who is at the centre of the process, shares knowledge, stories, truths, and the diversity of our voices.’

S&S commercial fiction publisher, Cassandra Di Bello, says: ‘It has been an absolute joy and privilege to work with Anita on her fiction where I have learnt a great deal about publishing First Nations voices. We know there is still underrepresentation of First Nations writers in Australia, so we hope with the launch of her own imprint, Bundyi, Anita will have the space she needs to continue educating us all, and help change the landscape on how First Nations stories are told.’

S&S publishing director, Ben Ball, says: ‘Bundyi will do something Australian publishing and culture deeply need: give First Nations creators a seat at the table. We’ve long wanted to do something like this, but it took Anita’s electric charge and vision to make it a reality. As well as her stellar reputation and unrivalled network, she’s got huge experience and energy. Critically, her taste and knowledge are wide, so Bundyi will span from commercial fiction to memoir to history – the uniting factors are First Nations’ voices and the unique talents of Anita Heiss.’

S&S managing director, Dan Ruffino, says: ‘From Archie Roach to Eddie Betts and Anita Heiss, we have always proudly published First Nations stories, so when Anita first proposed the idea of a First Nations focused imprint, we did not hesitate. Through our publishing of Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray, Anita has taught us the importance of opening up opportunities for First Nations creators. By launching the Bundyi imprint with Anita at the helm, we hope to take our publishing to the next level by having First Nations stories written, edited and designed by First Nations people.’

The first titles on the Bundyi list will publish in 2024.