There’s been an incredibly rush of news about Aboriginal Australia in the last few days, most of it very hard to absorb: the verdict in the Mulrunji case, the release of the Children are Sacred report and the predictably ham-fisted (iron-fisted? jackbooted?) response from the Prime Minister, the report of the Senate Inquiry.
So here is one more piece of news, a simple one that we can simply rejoice in: Alexis Wright’s magnificent, epic novel, Carpentaria, has won the premier Australian literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award. I don’t think I’ve been this pleased about a literary event since they gave Samuel Beckett the Nobel Prize in 1969: the odds of true greatness being recognized always seem incredibly long, but I’m delighted to share this particular piece of news.
There’s plenty of good press to be read. The 7:30 Report on the ABC broadcast an interview with Wright today. The ABC also has plenty of fine video online. Wright, whose book Grog War, told the story of indigenous attempts to control the sale of alcohol around Tennant Creek, offers her reactions to the PM’s latest in an article in The Age, which also printed a fine story on the win itself.
The Autumn 2007 edition of Heat (new series, 13) has an extended and truly wonderful essay by Wright, “On Writing Carpentaria,” which will delight you whether you’ve already read the novel or not. If you haven’t bought your copy of the book yet, this essay should be all the inducement you need.
Brava to Alexis Wright! I’m delighted to have something truly wonderful to celebrate tonight.