Nona and Me by Clare Atkins | Black Inc.

Nona and Me

Awards for Nona and Me

  • Winner, Book of the Year: 2016 NT Literary Awards
  • Highly commended by the judges of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Writing for Young Adults: “Clare Atkins’s first novel is a fresh exploration of communication and complication between indigenous and non-indigenous young people.”
  • Longlisted, 2015 Inky Awards
  • Honour Book, 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia, Book of the Year for Older Reader
  • Shortlisted, 2016 Territory Read Award

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Two birds on a branch inside a yellow silhouette of a girls face on a light pink background

About the author

Clare Atkins

Clare Atkins’ debut novel, Nona & Me, won the 2016 Book of the Year in the NT Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, longlisted for the 2015 Inky Awards, and highly commended …

More about Clare Atkins

Praise for Nona and Me

‘A powerful coming-of-age story … Atkins writes with clear-eyed sensitivity, and although I longed to hear Nona’s voice, its absence is deliberate and effective. Nona & Me is poignant young-adult fiction invoking the complex and often overlooked realities of remote indigenous life.’—Sydney Morning Herald

‘Clare Atkins writes about a place and a time with love and care, and explores a complicated and fraught situation with honesty and respect … Nona & Me is one of those wonderful books that takes you deeply into a rarely seen world and brings it vibrantly to life.’—Books + Publishing

‘[Nona & Me] is written in a clear, poetic style that creates a powerful sense of place as the story moves between communities, time and cultures, with a strong narrative pull that increases in tension until the very end.’—ABC Local Radio Central West NSW

‘This novel provides insights into the lives of a quintessentially Australian community which so few people have deep knowledge of.’—Kate Howe, age 16, Launceston Examiner

‘Rosie’s story brims with the joy and pain and complexity of friendship and love at sixteen. I adored this smart, heartfelt book about family, kinship, country, and finding out what really matters.’—Fiona Wood

‘[Clare Atkins] wrestles with some of this country's most hotly debated political issues with a rare lightness of touch. [Nona & Me is] a convincing portrait of a naive but feverish first love, friendships waxing and waning, and the clash between fitting in and sticking to your values. Above all, there's a warmth and optimism that's hard to resist.’—Sunday Age

‘Clare Atkins’ debut novel is a triumph: a coming-of-age tale that celebrates friendship and loyalty, family and community. Here is a striking new voice in Australian youth literature, and her story is one that will surely leave its mark.’—Kill Your Darlings

‘This [is a] powerful, beautifully contoured story of cross-cultural friendship.’—The Weekend Australian

‘Clare Atkins delivers a polished, unflinching book that deserves to be read’—The Age

‘A thought-provoking debut’—The West Australian

‘A delicate, quiet tale that you’ll … think about long after the book is finished.’—Pop.Edit.Lit

Nona & Me … journeys into some remarkable places … a complex and moving story.’—Cooma-Monaro Express

‘Atkins has chosen difficult terrain for her first novel and mapped it with honesty, style and insight.’—Adelaide Advertiser

‘A fascinating book, beautifully told, with rich insight into a deeply Australian but little known community.’—Jackie French

‘Deeply moving ... Nona & Me is a beautifully affecting story that will make you question what you think you know.’—Crash My Book Party

‘An unforgettable read’—Good Reading Magazine

‘Highly recommended.’—Readings Monthly

Teachers' Resources


Family; Identity; Guilt & atonement; Aboriginal culture and tradition; Racial discrimination

Reading age

Grades 9-12


Nona & Me is set against the political backdrop of the Northern Territory Intervention. For background information about the Intervention and other articles and resources, visit Clare Atkins' website.

Teacher testimonial for Nona & Me:

“Thanks for writing such an honest account of life in Yirrkala/Nhulunbuy. It took me back to memories of my own teenage years living in Yirrkala and going to school in Nhulunbuy. This will be a book I cherish and I can’t wait to share it with my family.” – Haidee Dentith, past Principal Yambirrpa Schools, Arnhem, NT


  Teaching notes

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Watch Clare Atkins talk to Alice Pung about Clare's novel Nona & Me.

Watch Clare Atkins answer Australian Curriculum questions for Nona & Me.

The Mulka Project – watch Siena and Nanukala show readers around Yirrkala and Nhulunbuy.

More from Clare Atkins