Author profile: Terri Janke

Terry JankeTerri Janke is a writer who works full time as a lawyer. Her practice focuses on Indigenous art and intellectual and cultural property. She has written many articles and reports on legal issues. 

Terri published her first novel Butterfly Song (Penguin)in 2005. In 2000 she was selected for the Australian Society of Authors’ mentorship program. Terri worked with writer Pearlie McNeill to complete her novel. Butterfly Song deals with the themes of family, culture and the things we hold close to our hearts. It moves from Sydney to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, and Cairns, and tells the story of Tarena Shaw, a young Indigenous law graduate, who takes on her first case to reclaim a carved pearl butterfly taken from her family over forty years before.

Terri has also written an early children’s reader with her daughter Tamina Pitt, entitled What Makes a Tree Smile? Published in 2003 it remains one of Magabala Books’ bestsellers.

Terri’s published short stories include: Survival in the Big City, in Anita Heiss(ed.), Life in Gadigal Country, Gadigal Information Service, Sydney, 2002; Brave and Free, in Southerly, No. 2, 2002; The Woman and the Train, in  Island, 2004; and Exotica, in Meanjin, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2006.

Terri’s published poetry includes: Between Two Worlds, Journey and Mentors, all published in untreated: poems by black writers, compiled by Josie Douglas, IAD Press, Alice Springs, 2000; and Fear not my Child, in Sidewalk 9, 2002.

Terri has participated in national writers’ festivals including the Sydney Writers’ Festival (2005) and Melbourne Writers Festival (2005), and in October 2005, she was participant of the Once Upon a Deadline, Sydney writers marathon.

Terri is also the author of Our Culture: Our Future: A Report on Australian Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights and Minding Culture: Case Studies on Intellectual Property and Traditional Cultural Expression. She has written many legal articles and publications. She will publish a legal text in 2008, Looking Out for Culture, and is currently working on her second novel.

Case Studies on Intellectual Property and Traditional Cultural Expression Our Culture: Our Future Butterfly Song