Books by the author

NOVELS

Taboo

COMING SOON!

Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar’s descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded. He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife’s dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations.

But the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.

We walk with the ragtag group through this taboo country and note in them glimmers of re-connection with language, lore, country. We learn alongside them how countless generations of Noongar may have lived in ideal rapport with the land. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.

That Deadman Dance is haunted by tragedy, as most stories of first contact between European and native peoples are.

But through Bobby’s life, the novel exuberantly explores a moment in time when things might have been different, when black and white lived together in amazement rather than fear of the other, and when the world suddenly seemed twice as large and twice as promising.

Benang is about forced assimilation and finding how one can return to their own culture. The novel presents how difficult it is to form a working history of a population who had been historically uprooted from their past.

Benang follows Harley, a young man who has gone through the process of “breeding out the colour”, as he pieces together his family history through documentation, such as photograph and his grandfather’s notes, as well as memories and experiences.

Harley and his family have undergone a process of colonial scientific experimentation called “breeding of the colour” which separated individuals from their indigenous families and origins.

Examining ideas of belonging and being an outsider, True Country follows Billy, a young school teacher and drifter who arrives in Australia’s remote far north in search of his past, his Aboriginal roots, and his future.

Through masterful language and metaphor, as well as a sophisticated tone that is both subtle and spirited, the novel finds Billy in a region not only of abundance and beauty but also of conflict, dispossession, and dislocation.

On the frontier between cultures, Billy must find where he belongs in what is ultimately a powerful portrayal of the discovery of self and a sensitive exploration of race and culture.
 

LIFE-WRITING (CO-AUTHOR)

A monumental family history of Australia’s Wilomin Noongar people, Kayang and Me is a powerful story of community and belonging. Revealing the deep and enduring connections between family, country, culture, and history that lie at the heart of indigenous identity, this book—a mix of storytelling and biography—offers insight into a fascinating community.

 

CHILDREN’S BOOK

A series of unexpected events occur when a dredgersaurus gets loose on the beach in this delightfully illustrated holiday adventure.

 

WIRLOMIN NOONGAR LANGUAGE AND STORIES PROJECT (EDITOR)

A brave young man travels the seas in the abdomen of a large whale (‘mamang’). The man squeezes the heart of the whale and the old song he sings spurs the whale on to take him on a very special journey. The whale transports him far west of his home country, where his life is changed forever. Mamang – presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text – captures the deep spiritual connection of people with the sea. The book is inspired by an Aboriginal creation story that emphasizes the courage and confidence of the Noongar protagonist. It shows aspects of an Indigenous heritage and the long relationship of that culture with its natural environment from the south coast of Western Australia. The story was passed down orally for generations among the Noongar people. Around 1931, it was told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves, who created the first written record of the story. Following Laves’ death in the 1980s, his family discovered the documented story in its written form, which was then returned to the Noongar people. The book was developed as part of an Indigenous language recovery project led by author Kim Scott and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project. The text has been carefully reworked by descendants of the original Noongar storytellers. Aboriginal artists have created beautiful and delightfully stunning illustrations to accompany the testimonial story.

Koora, Noongar keny dwoort boolarang. Baalang Ngoonang dwoort. Baal djerabiny dwoortang daatjak ngardanginy. / One day a long time ago, one of our people went hunting. He had his own as well as his brother’s dogs and he thought with so much help he’d easily catch a lot of tucker. / A man goes hunting for some tucker with a pack of dogs, but he doesn’t get what he expected…. Presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text, Dwoort Baal Kaat is an Indigenous Australian story of how two different animals are related to one another. Dwoort Baal Kaat came from the wise and ancient language of the First People of the Western Australian south coast – the Noongar people. Inspired by a story told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves around 1931, Dwoort Baal Kaat has been workshopped in a series of community meetings as a part of the “Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project” to revitalize an endangered language. This story is written in old Noongar, along with a literal English translation, as well as English prose styled by Kim Scott.

A young man follows a kangaroo track deep into the old people’s country. Along the way, he meets some spirit creatures (‘mambara’), who allow him to go on. But after he has hunted down the kangaroo, one mambara is angry and demands a fight (‘bakitj’). All day they fight, until the Noongar discovers he is a magic person and defeats the mambara. Noongar Mambara Bakitj – presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text – is inspired by an Aboriginal creation story that emphasizes the courage and confidence of the Noongar protagonist. It shows aspects of an Indigenous heritage and the long relationship of that culture with its natural environment from the south coast of Western Australia. The story was passed down orally for generations among the Noongar people. Around 1931, it was told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves, who created the first written record of the story. Following Laves’ death in the 1980s, his family discovered the documented story in its written form, which was then returned to the Noongar people. The book was developed as part of an Indigenous language recovery project led by author Kim Scott and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project. The text has been carefully reworked by descendants of the original Noongar storytellers. Aboriginal artists have created beautiful and delightfully stunning illustrations to accompany the testimonial story.

Presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text, Yira Boornak Nyininy is an Indigenous Australian story about forgiveness and friendship. Left stranded in a tree by his wife, a Noongar man has to rely on his Wadjela friend to help him back down. Yira Boornak Nyininy came from the wise and ancient language of the First People of the Western Australian south coast – the Noongar people. Inspired by a story told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves around 1931, Yira Boornak Nyininy has been workshopped in a series of community meetings as a part of the “Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project” to revitalize an endangered language. This story is written in old Noongar, along with a literal English translation, as well as English prose styled by Kim Scott.

 

SHORT STORY COLLECTION (EDITOR)

‘A story can lure us into gaps and spaces that feel sacred in their silence.’ Kim Scott in The Best Australian Stories 2013 assembles the most exceptional short fiction of the last year and invites readers to build ‘a rare and intimate relationship’ with these talented writers, one that is ‘essential to storytelling in print, whether on paper or screen.’ These stories conjure disparate moods, from delight to melancholy. A family Christmas lays bare a relationship grown cold. A father pursues the art of the birdcall in an effort to speak his son’s language. A cat becomes a conduit for a neighbour’s true feelings while Brisbane floods. Striking new voices blend seamlessly with those of celebrated storytellers to form a collection that will leave an indelible impression long after the last word is read.