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Giving this Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia By Anne Bre ...

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Giving this Country a Memory:


We have a total colonial history of genocidal acts which spurs on our desperate need to write to give this country a memory.

– Alexis Wright1

When you read a book, you learn … it makes people guess, makes them think.

– Alf Taylor2

The production of Australian indigenous3 literature has been growing rapidly since the 1970s; books such as Sally Morgan’s My Place and Doris Pilkington Garimara’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence have become widely popular. Many non-indigenous Australians and people beyond Australian shores, “meet” indigenous people and form ideas about their culture, history and politics, primarily through indigenous literature, film, dance, and music. Indigenous literary texts are thus an important site for the cross-cultural negotiation of subjectivity.

If contemporary literature creates a world of internal complexity, then historically the production of a private realm of contemplation and feeling has been reserved as the exclusive domain of Europeans. The concept of the expressive modern individual, central to Western literature, can