Alison is a Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar from the NSW floodplain fringe of Gunnedah. As a 2017 Roberta Sykes Scholar, she graduated with a Master of Laws from Harvard in 2018. At Harvard, she was named the Dean's Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law, which is awarded to LLM students in recognition of outstanding work in their first year international and comparative law courses.
She has also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Cultural Studies and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2016. She was the 2015 National Law Student of the Year, 2011-2014 UTS Law Equity Scholarship recipient, and the 2015 Kuril Dragon Indigenous Writing Fellowship recipient.
Alison has written two books, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, winner of the 2015 black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship and Blakwork which was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. In 2016, her poem, Many Girls White Linen, won the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. In 2020 Alison also curated and introduced a powerful anthology of First Nations poetry, entitled Fire Front, and gave the opening address at the Sydney Writers' Festival.
Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney.
Defeatism and inevitability: the metaphors of black deaths in custody, Broadcast, ABC Radio - Awaye Review, 2020
Fire Front: First Nations poetry and power today Review, Australian Book Review, 2020
Opening address for the 2020 Sydney Writers’ Festival, 2020
Alison Whittaker - The Guardian profile and articles
Law and Poetry with Alison Whittaker, December 2018
The biggest, simplest impact [of the Study Tour] was when two Harvard faculty members, independent of one another, described my work as 'compelling' and engaged (I hope) enthusiastically with my current and proposed research and practice. It was a small gesture, but one that helped me shake impostor syndrome. It was also one that affirmed that I didn't just want to go to Harvard, but that Harvard might have interest in and a place for me and my work.