Anita Heiss's new book Tiddas

Anita Heiss in Charlestown Library on Thursday, reading from her new book Tiddas. Picture: Simone De Peak.
Anita Heiss in Charlestown Library on Thursday, reading from her new book Tiddas. Picture: Simone De Peak.
Anita Heiss in Charlestown Library on Thursday, reading from her new book Tiddas. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Anita Heiss in Charlestown Library on Thursday, reading from her new book Tiddas. Picture: Simone De Peak.

ANITA Heiss has good reason to smile.

Her new book Tiddas – an Aboriginal word that loosely means sisters – was published three weeks ago and is already enjoying a second print run.

But what is most significant about the success of Heiss’s fifth novel is that she has shown there is room in commercial Australian women’s fiction for Indigenous protagonists.

‘‘I’m writing us into our contemporary landscape,’’ said Heiss, a Wiradjuri woman from central NSW who now lives in Sydney.

‘‘Most of the audience is non-Indigenous and it seems the market’s now ready for stories like this.’’

The social commentator and writer is visiting Lake Macquarie and Newcastle for two days to launch Tiddas and to catch up with her ‘‘Newie twitter sisters’’, a group of local readers and writers she connected with via social media.

‘‘I’m not married, I don’t have children and I travel a lot,’’ said Heiss on Thursday at an event at Charlestown Library. ‘‘I have blood family but my friends are also family to me.’’

Tiddas centres on five women – three of whom are Aboriginal – who have been close since childhood and meet once a month to discuss books and life’s ups and downs.

‘‘The whole point of the book is to show what we have in common as women,’’ she said. ‘‘The sisterhood is not about bringing bringing other women down.’’