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Sat, 25 May


Better Read Than Dead

Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia Sydney Launch

Join us with editor Samantha Faulkner to celebrate the release of Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia! Samantha will be joined by Sydney writers and contributors Tetei Bakic-Tapim, Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury and Rhett Loban.

Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia Sydney Launch
Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia Sydney Launch

Time & Location

25 May 2024, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

Ticket proceeds will go to Mura Kosker, an Indigenous not-for-profit organisation that advocates for human rights and improves family and kinship wellbeing in the Torres Strait, through tailored services and programs.

What makes Zenadth Kes/Torres Strait unique? And what is it like to be a Torres Strait Islander in contemporary Australia? Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia, compiled by poet and author Samantha Faulkner, showcases the distinct identity of Torres Strait Islanders through their diverse voices and journeys.

Hear from emerging and established writers from both today and the recent past, including Eddie Mabo, Thomas Mayo, Lenora Thaker,  Ellie Gaffney, Jillian Boyd-Bowie, Aaron Fa'Aoso and Jimi Bani. These and many more storytellers, mentors, traditional owners, doctors and teachers from the Torres Strait share their joy, culture, good eating, lessons learned and love of family, language and Country.

Discover stories of going dugong hunting and eating mango marinated in soy sauce. The smell of sugar cane and frangipani-scented sea breeze. Family, grandmothers and canoe time. Dancing, singing, weaving hats and making furniture from bamboo. Training as a doctor and advocating for healthcare for the Torres Strait. The loneliness of being caught between two cultures. Mission life, disconnection and being evacuated to the mainland during World War II. "Is that really your mum? Why is she black?". Not being Islander enough. Working hard to reconnect to your roots, and claiming back land and culture.

A book to treasure and share, this groundbreaking collection provides a unique perspective on the Torres Strait Islander experience.

Our event space is wheelchair accessible via a stair lift. For any other access queries, please email

Samantha Faulkner is a Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal woman, from Badu and Moa Islands in the Torres Strait and the Yadhaigana and Wuthathi peoples of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Her poetry and short stories have been published nationally and internationally, and she is the proud author of Life Blong Ali Drummond: A Life in the Torres Strait (Aboriginal Studies Press, July 2007) and editor of Pamle: Torres Strait Islanders in Canberra (2018). She also is a member of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Network, MARION (ACT Writers) and the treasurer of First Nations Australia Writers Network and Us Mob Writing Group. In 2023, she was the Torres Strait Islander curator for the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury is a proud Indigenous woman from the Larrakia Nation of Garramilla (Darwin) and Erubam Le peoples of Meriam Mir, and an Emmy-nominated storyteller. Aaliyah­-Jade is most well known for producing the film Harley & Katya (2022). She has been recognised by Screen Australia and Screen NSW as ‘one to watch’ for the way she highlights intricate storytelling through the humanity of our First Nations peoples. She has also held various roles in NGOs and government at organisations such as Creative Australia (formerly the Australia Council for the Arts), the ABC and SBS.

Tetei Bakic-Tapim was born in Gimuy and was raised in Dharug Ngurra. Her family is from Mer Island & Erub Island (Torres Strait Islands), Bindal, Kaanju and Juru (Queensland), Gaire Village and Korobosea Village (Central Province, Papua New Guinea) and Bečej (Serbia). Tetei works in the Department of Indigenous Studies, Wallumattagal Campus (Macquarie University) as the Department Coordinator and is also completing a Master of Research as a pathway to a PhD. She is passionate about archiving her grandparents’ stories advocating for Torres Strait Islanders living on the mainland. Her chapter in this book would not be possible without the many hours she spent on the phone with her grandparents going over all the details and naming the many families involved in the history of Magani Malu Kes. Her chapter is dedicated to her niece, Ama, so she can read about her great-grandparents and the future they envisioned for her.

Dr Rhett Loban is a Torres Strait Islander with connections to Mabuyag and Boigu. Rhett is a researcher and lecturer at Macquarie University. His research interests include culture, game-­based learning and virtual reality.


  • Event Ticket

    Proceeds will be donated to Mura Kosker.

  • Event + Book

    Includes a donation to Mura Kosker and copy of Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia




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