Publishing Books written by Community

The ILF works to meet the wishes of remote Communities across Australia, to assist with the publishing of books created by Community ‑ many in First Languages ‑ as well as to fund the development of digital, audio, or other learning resources and workshops.

It is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can see themselves, their culture and languages reflected in the books they read. Having books that share local stories in First Languages, preserves and maintains Indigenous languages and culture, as well as builds pride, identity and strengthens a sense of belonging, confidence and wellbeing. 

In light of lack of legislation and protection around artificial intelligence (AI) copyright the ILF makes a clear commitment to not engage in the use of any ‘generative AI’ in any of the publishing projects we work with. 

How Community Publishing works

Potential publishing projects go through a proposal process which must meet our vision and strategy. Each is different. They can involve working with translators, linguists, authors, illustrators, editors and artists. We listen to the needs and wants of each Community and collaborate throughout the entire process to ensure Community leadership and authenticity. Community members decide which language to write their books in. To date, we have published 109 books reflecting 31 Indigenous languages. Once a book is published, if requested, we assist with an official launch and copies of the books are gifted to the Community and often included in the Book Supply program.

There is a real buzz and palpable sense of achievement when children and Community members publish a book through our Community Publishing Projects program. Books can be published for Community use only, or made available for sale via bookshops and the ILF online shop.

Publishing Criteria

Potential projects may be accepted into the ILF’s Community Publishing if they meet the following criteria:

  • Represents a remote, very remote, or isolated Community

  • Where possible, includes a language element (this may mean the book is solely in language, include a complete translation, or an English text with particular words in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language)

  • That appropriate permissions for language use have been or can be obtained from the traditional knowledge holders/owners/Elders

  • If the story is a traditional story, that the appropriate permissions have been or can be obtained from the traditional knowledge holders/owners/Elders

  • Are primarily for a children’s or youth audience (i.e. picture storybooks, board books, etc.)

  • Are positive representations of Indigenous peoples, cultures, Communities, languages and lives

  • Can be shown to be of benefit to the larger Community the book represents 

  • That the book project is led by Community members at all times and at all levels

  • Projects taken on by the ILF are primarily, but not always, organised by schools, FaFTs, community organisations or authors working with community organisations.

Please note that meeting these criteria does not automatically guarantee acceptance into the Community Publishing. 

We review applications for our Community Publishing Program three times per year; in February, July and November. We will get back to you whether your application is successful or not.

Apply for our Community Publishing Program here.

For further information, please email us at


Some of these projects are funded by the ILF, some receive grants or sponsorship, or are published in partnerships with other organisations.

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