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Sand Talk

Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

Tyson Yunkaporta

  • awardWinner, Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2020
  • awardWinner, The Ansari Institute's Randa and Sherif Nasr Book Prize on Religion & the World, United States, 2022
  • awardShortlisted, Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2020
  • awardShortlisted, Non-fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2020
  • awardLonglisted, Booktopia Favourite Australian Book, 2020
  • awardLonglisted, Bookseller's Choice for Adult Nonfiction, Australian Booksellers Association, 2020
  • awardLonglisted, Non-fiction, Indie Book Awards, Leading Edge, 2020
  • This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrödinger’s cat.

    Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently?

    Sand Talk provides a template for living. It’s about how lines and symbols and shapes can help us make sense of the world. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about talking to everybody and listening carefully. It’s about finding different ways to look at things.

    Most of all it’s about Indigenous thinking, and how it can save the world.


    3RRR: The Mission 
    ABC Central Victoria: Breakfast (3:27:00) 
    ABC Melbourne: Mornings
    ABC Radio: Myf Warhurst  
    ABC Radio National: All in the Mind 
    ABC Radio National: Bookshelf 
    ABC Radio National: The Bookshelf  
    ABC Radio National: Late Night Live 
    Adelaide Advertiser ($) 
    Antithesis Journal 
    Australian (op-ed) ($)
    Beyond Crisis: Tyson Yunkaporta, David Suzuki and Helena Norberg-Hodge (YouTube)   
    Blind Insights
    Booktopia blog: Q & A 
    Chat 10 Looks 3 
    Conversation (extract) 
    Deakin University: Disruptr 
    Dr Karl: Shirtloads of Science podcast 
    Fifth Estate 
    Griffith Review: All our landscapes are broken (op ed)  
    Inspirational Insights podcast  
    Jim Rutt Show  
    The Latch: 12 Must-Read Books From First Nations Authors    
    Limelight: From the Heart: The Voice, the Arts and Australian Identity (op-ed)    
    New York Times 
    Off the Leash  
    Political Hope podcast     
    Publishing Perspectives 
    Rebel Wisdom (video) 
    Surf Coast Times 
    Sydney Morning Herald 
    Talking Words podcast 
    Team Human podcast  
    The Multiverse According to Ben podcast   
    The State of Us podcast   
    Wheeler Centre podcast   
    Wild with Sarah Wilson podcast    
    Word for Word festival: key note 
    Writers Voice podcast  

    Tyson Yunkaporta
    About the Author

    Tyson Yunkaporta is an Aboriginal scholar, founder of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab at Deakin University in Melbourne, and author of Sand Talk. His work focuses on applying Indigenous methods of inquiry to resolve complex issues and explore global crises.

    Read Moreright
    Text publication date:
    29 August 2023
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    Praise for Tyson Yunkaporta
    andSand Talk

    ‘An extraordinary invitation into the world of the Dreaming… Unheralded.’

    ‘It was certainty that drove a bulldozer through the oldest and deepest philosophic statement on earth at Burrup Peninsula. Sand Talk offers no certainties and Tyson Yunkaporta is not a bulldozer driver. This is a book of cultural and philosophic intrigue. Read it.’

    ‘Radical ideas, bursting with reason.’

    ‘After two hundred years, Indigenous thinkers are claiming the right to interpret Aboriginal Australia. It is a revolutionary change: here, in this compelling book, are its first fruits.’

    ‘An exhilarating meditation on different ways of knowing and being. Sand Talk is playful, profound and fiercely original.’

    ‘A familiar Indigenous sense of humour and generosity of sharing knowledge makes this book enjoyable to read…Like Dark Emu, Yunkaporta’s book will have people talking.’

    ‘Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk is an extraordinary reading experience. It’s both philosophical and practical, and underpinned by a compassionate yet realistic humanity.’

    ‘Asks the reader to emotionally connect to with not only the text, but connect to the author through the text.’

    ‘Clever, funny, thought provoking, sensible and generous all at the same time. A must read!’

    ‘Readable, digestible and quite frankly exciting.’


    Sand Talk is an important book. Tyson Yunkaporta an important and original thinker and writer. The book unpacks for us something originally genius about Indigenous thought, which has for too long been dismissed as archaic folk knowledge from old oral cultures of interest only to academics and fetishists. This book shows how vital and alive and essential Indigenous ways of being and thinking are. Yunkaporta is so smart, funny, and accessible. Everyone needs to read this.’

    ‘Challenges us to think differently – and change the world… It is a timely and insightful read.’

    ‘Perhaps the most unusual science book of the year…It’s a dramatically new (to some) and absorbing way of engaging with the world, and stops just short of exasperation with self-important “western science”.’ Guardian

    ‘A bold voice among a growing field of Australian Indigenous writing that challenged a lot of my assumptions.’

    Other editions ofSand Talk
    • Sand Talk
      ISBN: 9781925774764
      3 September 2019
      Buy ebook
    Other Titles byTyson Yunkaporta