This site brings together the publications of Dr. Sara Niner about people & politics in Timor-Leste.

20 October, 2009

Xanana Biography is attempt at a fair and objective historical account

I’ve had my first comment from Timor about the biography but really it was a comment about Xanana. My correspondent thought that while Xanana had been a hero of the resistance, his more recent performance was not so heroic.

It prompts me to make the point that book essentially is about Xanana's leadership of the resistance from the early 1980s to 1999 and there is only an ‘Afterword’ about all the complex domestic politics since 2000. Throughout the book I have tried to be fair and objective and included the many sides to internal politics in East Timor. However as it is a biography of Xanana it does focus on his perspective and actions as leader. I see this book as part of the first attempts to set down the historical record which is a very hard thing to do in East Timor because so much is contested.

I am fully expecting many people to disagree with my account (even Xanana may not agree with some of my findings) but that is the nature of history. I sincerely hope it does spark interest and intellectual debate but in a calm and considered way which is not divisive.

I am hoping to get some copies to Dili soon and hope to get copies into the UNTL University Library and at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, possibly even some for sale there. I also hope one day to have Indonesian and Tetun, even Portuguese translations. That’s the next project and any willing publishers or translators are encouraged to contact me.

Best wishes


Xanana as student in 1960s

18 October, 2009

XANANA is printed!

I am pleased to announce that after a long time in gestation, 'XANANA' , my political biography of Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is now published and available for RRP/AUD $44.00 (ISBN 1921509082, 9781921509087).

Stand-by for launch details.

PLEASE ORDER IT at your local bookshop while casually mentioning you believe it is going to become an international best-seller!

I would be delighted to post an author-signed and messaged copy to you for a small fee.
For further details or other enquiries please contact me on


Melbourne, Australia
Hill of Content (Melb CBD)
Paperback Bookshop (Melb CBD)
Reader’s Feast (Melb CBD)
Melbourne University Bookshop (Parkville)

Readings (Hawthorn)
Dymocks (Camberwell)
Julian Wood Bookseller (Ferntree Gully)

Sydney, Australia
Gleebooks (Sydney)

Canberra, Australia
University Co-Op ANU (Canberra)

University Co-Op ADFA (Canberra)

Contact publisher direct to purchase copies. $44.00, no postage charge within Australia.
Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd
tel: +61 (0)3 9329 6963
fax: +61 (0)3 9329 5452
ASP website:

Xanana (No. 8) 1966 with basketball team