Kevin Gilbert (author)

Kevin Gilbert (Author)

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Kevin Gilbert (author)

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Kevin Gilbert (10 July 1933 - 1 April 1993) was a 20th century Indigenous Australian activist, artist, poet, playwright and printmaker. He is also a past winner of the National Book Council prize for writers.


Kevin Gilbert was born into the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations in Condobolin, New South Wales and was raised by his maternal grandmother on an Aboriginal reserve. He left school at the age of fourteen and picked up various seasonal and short-term itinerant jobs. In 1957 Gilbert was committed to a life sentence over the murder of his wife during an argument. He was eventually granted parole in 1971.

While in prison Gilbert studied printmaking and took up writing. In 1968 he penned the play The Cherry Pickers. He exhibited his artwork at the Arts Council Gallery in Sydney in 1970, in an exhibition organised by the Australia Council.

From 1972 onwards Gilbert was active in numerous Indigenous human rights causes and most notably in establishing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at (old) Parliament house in Canberra and is known for embracing the term Black. He also authored 'Because a White Man'll Never Do It' in 1973. The National Book Council presented him an its book award for his book 'Living Black: Blacks Talk to Kevin Gilbert' in 1978. The book included interviews with various black commentators of the day including the late musician and dancer Robert Jabanungga.

In the leadup to Australia's bi-centenary celebrations, Gilbert chaired the Treaty '88 campaign for a...
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