Aussies Rule Prompt 13 – An Aussie Author of Colour who is not Aboriginal

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Hi folks,

Time for another Aussies Rule post!

One of the things that annoys me about Anglo Australians is that a large number of them seem to have this tacitly ingrained understanding that only white people are born in this country. If you are a person of colour (or have a non-Anglo name) you must have been born overseas. (Unless you are Aboriginal of course, in which case cue a whole different swathe of white misunderstandings and prejudices.) On reflection, I should probably have made this prompt about non Anglo authors rather than authors of colour. Hind sight is awesome!

If you google search “Australian authors” your result will give you a line of mostly white faces, with some Aboriginal representation (well known award winners) and the odd person such as Michelle de Krester who took out the Miles Franklin this year. Here are some more wonderful authors to add to your lists:

  • Alice Pung
  • Gabrielle Wang
  • Benjamin Law
  • Michelle Law
  • Maxine Beneba Clarke
  • Omar Sakr
  • Randa Abdel- Fattah
  • Omar Musa
  • Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Christos Tsiolkas and Peter Polites should also be on this list if I’m looking at it from a non-Anglo point of view.

Benjamin Law and Maxine Beneba Clark are particular favourites of mine (and are worth a follow on twitter) and I was pretty happy when I saw this post from Benjamin Law on twitter a couple of weeks ago.

I wish them every success!

Who have I missed? Let me know your favourite Aussie author of colour or non-Anglo author who isn’t on this list.

While I was researching this list I found this really interesting article about diversity in Australian publishing. (Spoiler alert – it’s terrible). I was talking to a member of my team at work about resistance reading, and she was a little shocked that something as passive as reading could be thought of as an act of resistance. I would again encourage you to your local book stores and libraries and ask for diverse books if they do not stock them. We need diverse stories and diverse representation

Read your Resistance, people!

Cheers,

[Note: I’ve posted previously about Aussies of colour who have come here as immigrants or refugees – I just want to note that I don’t think these people are any less Aussie than those of us who are born here.]

Aussies Rules Prompt 24 – A book shortlisted for the Ned Kelly‚Äôs, Stellas or Miles Franklin

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Hi folks,

I thought I’d drop you another quick list of awesome Aussie titles.

Prompt 24 refers to some of the literary prizes available in this wide brown land. Both the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin award are named for Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, Aussie author and journalist best known for her novel My Brilliant Career. While the Miles Franklin award is solely for literature, the Stella Prize is for women writing in any genre.

The Ned Kelly Award is for both true crime and crime fiction.

The long and short lists for these three prizes are pretty easy to find, so I’m going to give you the short lists from 2018. I’m sure you will find something of substance there!

Ned Kelly Award Shortlist 2018:

Best Crime Novel:

  • Marlborough Man by Alan Carter
  • Under Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher
  • Redemption Point by Candice Fox
  • Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill
  • The Lone Child by Anna George
  • The Student by Iain Ryan

Best First Crime Novel:

  • Wimmera by Mark Brandi
  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
  • The Girl in Keller’s Way by Megan Goldin
  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Best True Crime:

  • The Contractor by Mark Abernathy
  • Unmaking a Murder: The Mysterious Death of Anna Jane Cheney by Graham Archer
  • The Suitcase Baby by Tanya Bretherton
  • The Fatalist by Campbell McConachie
  • Whiteley on Trial by Gabrielle Coslovich

Stella Prize Shortlist 2018

  • Tracker by Alexis Wright
  • Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman
  • The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
  • The Life to Come by Michelle de Krester
  • An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen
  • The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe

The Miles Franklin Shortlist 2018

  • No More Boats by Felicity Cartagena
  • The Life to Come by Michelle de Krester
  • The Last Garden by Eve Hornung
  • Storyland by Catherine McKinnon
  • Border Districts by Gerald Murnane
  • Taboo by Kim Scott

Enjoy!

Aussies Rule Prompt 22 – Winners of the David Unaipon Award

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should note that this post may contain the names and images of deceased persons.

Hi folks,

Welcome to another instalment of the Aussies Rule Challenge. This week I thought I would talk about winners of the David Unaipon award.

David Unaipon (he’s on our $50 note) was from the Ngarrindjeri people, and was and inventor and author. He was commissioned by the University of Adelaide to capture a book of Aboriginal stories, and he was the first Aboriginal writer to be published in English.

The David Unaipon Award is part of the Queensland Literary Awards, and is for the best writing of the year by an unpublished Aboriginal writer.

Here are some recent winners for you to check out:

Enjoy!

Aussies Rule Challenge 11 – A book that features Aboriginal Spirituality

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Hi folks, it’s been a while since I’ve posted specifically about the Aussies Rule Challenge (life has been doing a thing) but we’re back! How is it September already? How is your challenge going?

I thought I would talk about prompt 11 today, which is a book that features Aboriginal spirituality (by an Aboriginal author).

The more I explore Aboriginal writing the less I realise I know (true for all things for me, but definitely in this area). Most of the reading I have done of Aboriginal writing up until recently seems to have been of memoir styled stories. A number of fiction writers that I have read more recently beautifully weave their spirituality through their works, and this are the ones I’m going to be suggesting today. This is probably the smallest number of authors and books that I have suggested for a prompt, but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.

Alexis Wright

Kim Scott

Melissa Lucashenko

What other books would you add to this list?

Cheers,

Reading as Resistance

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Hi folks!

I don’t normally overtly talk about politics on the blog, but some stuff has happened in the Australian federal parliament this week that has really upset me. I know most of my readers are not located in Australia, so rather than rabbit in about how crappy it is that we now seem to have some neo-Natzi in the parliament who my fellow Australians have voted for and who my tax dollars are supporting, I thought a post about reading as resistance might be helpful.

Reading and books are amazing. Studies have shown that reading can improve empathy and if we have empathy, things like racism becomes less of a thing. (Ranty note: the above study references that literary fiction rather than genre fiction – Danielle Steele in particular – is needed to positively impact empathy. I think this is nonsense and as long as you are reading genre fiction that thoughtfully challenges the status quo it will have the same effect. I can’t imagine your average reader reading Octavia Butler, Yoon Ha Lee, Nnedi Okorafor, or Claire Coleman and not having the way they view the world changed.)

Reading diversely has helped me gain a broader range of perspectives on life from a range people who I would never have met in my day to day life and from points of view I couldn’t experience as a cis white woman.

The media, marketing and politicians all want to impact the way that we think, which is why, particularly in the tiny Australian publishing market, certain books are advertised a lot and placed in particular spot in chain bookstores and other books seem to sneak into the shelves when they are stocked at all.

If you are not already, you can make your reading an act of resistance. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Start a diverse reading book club at work
  • Talk to people about the diverse books you read. Talk to anyone: your mum, your friends, your partner
  • Talk about diverse books on social media: there’s plenty of people interested in books on places like Litsy, Tumblr and Instagram. Take your diverse reads to the people!
  • Talk to your local book store: If you can afford to support the author, order your books in at your local book store. Talk to the staff about how cool diverse books are. Book store staff are also generally readers and want to read amazing books. My local bookstore staff are great at this, which I appreciate.
  • Ask your library to stock diverse books: If your library doesn’t have the diverse books you want to read, they should have a method for you to be able to make requests. My library is particularly awesome at this. Books in libraries are great for authors as well – more people will have the opportunity to meet a new favourite, and it could lead the library to buying more of their books.
  • Read in public! One Aussie author self published his first book and advertised it my reading it on public transport. You reading a book in public is a way of you making a book recommendation to any readers who see you. Read on the train, on the bus, in your local cafe, in the park, at the hair salon.

Do you have any other ideas? Have any of these been successful for you?

Cheers

Author of Colour Readathon

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Hello fabulous people.

I’m pretty stoked that the weekend is here! I have a huge weekend of reading planned…. ah bliss!

I wanted to let you know about the Author of Colour Readathon that will be happening between August 12 and August 19.

The wonderful Polo over at Queer Lit put me on to this readathon. It’s being hosted by Booktuber Dana in Colour and there are 4 challenges:

  1. For each of these points, read a different authors of different ethnicities/races
  2. Read a classic or a work in translation by an author of colour
  3. Read a sci-fi or fantasy book by an author of colour
  4. Read a book of poetry by an author of colour.

Polo has some great tips for making it through all the readathon challenges on their website as well as some recommendations, so make sure you check out their post.

I’m sure if you’ve spent a little time reading this blog you will be aware that reading widely is a goal that I’m constantly working at. I want to make sure that my book buying dollars aren’t going to the smug white folks who get all the marketing. Diverse voices are so important, especially when some broadcasters are giving far right wing supporters to air time. (I find myself very much aligned with the First Dog on the Moon piece which you can find here , which is both more succinct and scathing than I could hope to be.)

My timing for this readathon is pretty good: here’s a look at what I’m planning on reading over the weekend and during the coming week.

I’m so grateful to my library for buying books that I have asked for. I’m part way through Want by Cindy Pon (sci-fi/fantasy) and I’m really enjoying it.

I put down Want in order to pick up Melissa Lucashenko’s new book Too Much Lip. This doesn’t really fit into any of the readathon challenges, but I’m not going to let that stop me!


Another purchase by my library and another sci-fi/fantasy read, I’m looking forward to Rebel Seoul as well!

Another library loan, this title had me immediately. This is poetry so does qualify for the challenge.

Small Country by Gael Faye is translated from the French, so qualifies for the challenge. This recommendation has come from an impeccable source and I’m really looking forward to it.

So those are my plans. Are you going to join in the Author of Colour Readathon? Let me know what you’re going to read?

Cheers,

#BookishBloggersUnite – Impactful Books

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Hi folks,

Welcome to another edition of Bookish Bloggers Unite, a tag put together by a group of friends who wanted to write about books together. This week we’re being hosted by Summer over at Paper Cathedrals, so make sure you check out her blog, and add your link there if you would like to join us

This week we’re talking about impactful books, books that make you think or feel differently, or see the world from a different point of view. As we’re coming to the end of Australian Black History Month, I’m going to talk about impactful books by Aboriginal authors.

Too Afraid to Cry is a memoir by poet Ali Cobby Eckermann. Cobby Eckermann was removed from her mother when a baby and was adopted by a white family along with a number of other Aboriginal children. She didn’t realised she was Aboriginal until later in her childhood when she was bullied for her appearance by students at her school. Abuse and trauma during hr childhood and teen years, followed by her own child being taken away, Cobby Eckermann tells of her journey through addiction and depression, her struggle to find where she belongs. She eventually finds both her birth mother and her son. This book shows the human face to the Stolen Generations and the cyclical trauma placed on Aboriginal people by the government’s terrible policies.

Taboo by Kim Scott has been nominated for the Miles Franklin this year. Based on actual events, Taboo follows Tilly as she finds her way back to her father’s land and people after being raised by her white mother. This happens at the same time as a proposed Peace Park/Plaque being discussed by her father’s family, victims of a local massacre. Taboo is another exploration of loss and trauma and how those things impact today’s Aboriginal people. (One of the white characters keeps saying “I don’t like the word ‘massacre'” in what appears to be an attempt to downplay the event, and it’s a completely infuriating, although accurate, portrayal of the way white Australia seems to want to wash it’s hands of what happened to the Aboriginal population.)

I spotted this article on Twitter yesterday which talks about 500 massacre sites being mapped across the country. You can see the map itself here. It’s a sickening reminder that the government’s plan for the Aboriginal people was for them to be exterminated completely.

I feel like I can’t talk about this book enough, especially to Australians. If you have had any level of education about the Aboriginal people, you would have been taught that prior to invasion, they were a nomadic people who didn’t have any agricultural structures . Dark Emu shows that the Aboriginal people used sowing, harvesting, irrigating and food storage techniques that don’t line up with the “hunter/gatherer” tag their society was usually described as. (And these techniques were deliberately downplayed/hidden by the whites to make Terra Nullius an option. Please read this book.

That’s it from me. What books have significantly impacted you?

Cheers,