Show menu

"The one thing people need to hear today is truth"

5 Jul 2021 | Victor Steffensen

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 Victor Steffensen

Victor SteffensenVictor Steffensen is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant. He is a descendant of the Tagalaka People through his mother’s connections from the Gulf Country of north Queensland. Much of Victor's work over the past 27 years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge values – particularly traditional burning – through mentoring and leadership, as well as on-ground training with Aboriginal communities and many non-Indigenous Australians. He is a co-founder of Firesticks, an Indigenous-led organisation that aims to re-invigorate the use of cultural burning. He is the author of Fire Country, a groundbreaking and powerful title about Indigenous land management and the revival of cultural burning practices. Don’t miss Victor’s picture book for kids Looking After Country with Fire, out next January!

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

It is such a privilege to be able to share knowledge and stories as an author, and I find it an amazing way to educate and connect to people on issues that are so important for us all to be aware of. 

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

I hope that readers can read my work and learn a lot about the topics I write about in a way that enlightens them, inspires them, and gives them the big picture on who we are and how we all fit into the story. I also love giving the reader the power of storytelling, where it is simple to understand yet powerful in a way that brings them into the pages and allows them to find a place where they can relate and understand.Fire Country cover

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

It’s surprising how books still make a great impact today around sharing knowledge and stories to the future generations, particularly around finding solutions and answers to the current important issues we face as a nation and what we need to do to deal with it. 

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

I personally want to keep writing more stories in the fiction and non-fiction categories and I see it as an effective way to share my experiences and dreams with the next generations. I also want to see more First Nation authors taking up writing as we are such powerful story tellers and putting it into words is just as effective as telling it around a campfire. The one thing people need to hear today is truth, and more importantly the love in how we are all going to work together to make a better world. 

Looking After Country with Fire is your second book published with Hardie Grant, how did your writing experience change for this particular book?

I am just finishing my second book with Hardie Grant called Looking After Country with Fire which is a children's book about the story of how Aboriginal people managed the land with cultural burning. It is much different to writing the bigger story of Fire Country, but I have found it just as powerful and as important. I have written Looking After Country with Fire in a way that is fun for the children but equally as enjoyable and educational for the mums and dads. I also wrote a song for the book which will be printed at the end of the book so that children can sing along and hopefully learn the tune in their music classes