Tara June Winch
Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri writer. Her critically acclaimed work includes Swallow the Air (UQP, 2006), After the Carnage (UQP, 2016) and her latest novel, The Yield (Penguin Random House, 2019).
For the love of our children
I think that as a nation, Australia has an opportunity to embrace the mother tongues of where we live, whether by supporting local language centres or lobbying for First Nations language programs to be taught in local schools and as part of early-childhood curriculums. This will allow us all to feel a sense of belonging in relation to our cultural history as a nation…
On ‘Ninu’ and ‘Two sisters’
These two autobiographies are written in English and interspersed with language – that of the Pitjantjatjara from the Central Australian desert in South Australia and the Walmajarri from the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia… Together they are two of the most significant female stories that our country is honoured to have in print today.
On ‘Kurlumarniny’ and ‘Yijarni’: Two books in language
These books are linguistic legacies for Nyangumarta and Gurindji speakers and readers, a vital recording of history, and a great act of continuing language acquisition and fluency. They document the years before and during the monumental Pilbara station workers’ strike of 1946 in Western Australia and the subsequent Wave Hill Walk-off of 1966 in the Northern Territory.
2019: Future voices
Archie Roach and Jack Charles…shared the stage that night. This was an important moment for literature, too – these two men would both release memoirs in the following months about their triumphs and disasters, their pain and survival: Jack Charles’s Born-again Blakfella (Viking) was released in August, and Archie Roach’s Tell Me Why: The story of my life and my music (Simon & Schuster) was released in November. Both became instant bestsellers.
Can you hear me now?: 2008–2018
In particular, there was a great recognition of female Aboriginal writing – we had this possibility of being able to imagine ourselves as Alexis Wright, for our work to be read widely and for our stories to have a global impact. A major anthology of our literature was available in bookshops and featured in curriculums throughout the country.
Speaking for ourselves: 1997–2007
In 1994, one in every ten Aboriginal people aged over twenty-five reported to the Australian Bureau of Statistics that they had been removed from their families in childhood, a figure confirmed by research conducted since the Bringing Them Home report. Australia-wide, those directly affected by these removal policies number in the tens of thousands.
The books we carry on our backs: 1796–1996
During the period of colonisation, Aboriginal customs and languages were prohibited from being used and spoken, which meant that many languages and their stories disappeared from circulation. A great linguistic dispossession occurred, hand in hand with a great dispossession of homelands and family structures.
Decolonising the shelf
I want to look at our writing, our languages and our wider story to try to understand it all myself. To celebrate that great canon so many people never knew or still don’t know, the books that us contemporary First Nations writers carry on our backs – just as we carry the past, and our ancestors’ stories too.
Mending a broken link
MemoirI'M CELEBRATING MY mother. Pink tissue paper and ribbon fold and tie over the gift: foot lotion. Lavender scented. A present for the Mother's Day I usually forget. The last few years have been celebrated with a phone call...
My Queensland – Finding a voice
ReportageThink Queensland and I immediately conjure apartheid births and prototypes, stolen Aboriginal wages, native title rise and fall, the National Party, the Country Party, and any other Queensland wheat-belt-born party with a minority to vilify. But maybe this is all in...