Review - A Pocketful of Leadership, Too Deadly

Review by: Communications
March 6, 2018

Two books are currently available for purchase through Kerry Reed-Gilbert.

The first, Too Deadly: Our Voice, Our Way, Our Business, is an anthology from Us Mob Writing, Canberra.

The other is a re-print of A Pocketful of Leadership in First Nations Australia Communities.

These publications are $20 each plus $8.50 postage per book. Or two books for $16 each plus postage.

Proceeds of Too Deadly go to the Us Mob Writers group.

For more details on how to purchase, please contact

Too Deadly

Too Deadly is a diverse collection of First Nations writings, featuring works by: Lisa Fuller;  Michelle Ngingmangalli Bedford;  Yullara Reed; Chella Goldwin; Samia Goudie;  Brenda Gifford;  Kerry Reed-Gilbert:  Barrina South;  Marissa McDowell;  Joyce Graham and Samantha Faulkner.

Too Deadly is a fitting title for this powerful and diverse collection of First Nations writings. Offerings include prose and narrative poetry; flash fiction, fiction and creative non-fiction; and life writing. The writers gathered bring to the fore evocative snippets from the many different nations of Indigenous Australia; the themes range from the personal to the political – the big and the small picture leap off the page

Jeanine Leane,  Wiradjuri writer, Academic


Extract:  COMING HOME by Samia Goudie

The letters came, in yellow faded soft envelopes, a church stamp faded in the corner. I knew then immediately. Recycled, the previous address crossed out.

His writing sloped in black ballpoint, a style of writing from another time. The paper this time, white unlined, is smudged, a moment of thought perhaps, pen drip colliding with the rim mark of a teacup circled across the page.

Dear Helen,

Yes, you can come and meet your mother. She has agreed. The time is 2pm at the church. Call for directions.


Father Butcher.

I’ve got an old Holden, white and rusty, but it will do. The journey is long and there’s no radio or air conditioner, so I wind the window down and set off. My dog Tara in the back lying fast asleep, the ultimate road travel buddy. After I turn off the highway, the green fronds rise up thick and deep on either side of the dirt road. They swing out to meet me, clipping my arm as I drive too close to the edge. I had not expected the cool of the mountain and the many bends in the road. I had never been this way before. The silence fills my ears with the odd distant blur of morning sounds that greet you on hot summer Queensland days just as the world lights up.

The smells outside the car waft in, thick moist rotting tropical leaves. Rainforest smells after rain. The light started changing as the mountain rose, a slight mist just ahead dispersing, silver shimmering’s as it rises from the ground. I notice in slow motion all these things, but I do my best to ignore the turmoil inside me.

I wonder to myself if I am feeling anything at all. I am excited, nervous and anxious and feel quite sick in my stomach. It is hard to let myself feel any emotions after all these years of searching with no answers. The pain and longing, the secrets, the fear, the lies. I am scared I won’t be able to follow through, that my emotions will run wild and swallow me up. I fool myself into thinking about other things singing songs that pop in to my mind Black fella, white fella, I sing loudly. ‘We have survived …you can’t break my bone, by putting me down.’

A Pocketful of Leadership

This book makes an important contribution towards bridging any cultural divide in knowledge and understanding by providing ideas and thoughts about leadership from the perspective of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. I consider that in the context of the todays cultural, social and political climate this is an extremely important contribution.

Russell Taylor, Kamilaroi Elder and former CEO of AIATSIS


Contributors: Dr Anita Heiss; Benny Hodges: Bev Whyte; Brenda Croft; Bunja Eric Smith; Caroline Hughes; Charmaine Green; Duncan Smith; Euroka Gilbert; Dr Jared Thomas; Joanne Chivers; Prof. John Maynard;   Kerrie Tim; Lesa Reed; Lyn Talbot; Marissa McDowell; Masepah Banu; Maurice Walker; Michelle Bedford; Richard Weston; Rod Little; Russell Taylor; Dr. Peter Minter;  Prof. Peter Radoll; Samantha Faulkner;  Samuel Radoll.