Magabala Books

Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki

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July 2021, no. 433

Noongar and Yawuru poet and academic Elfie Shiosaki writes in the introduction to her new poetry collection, Homecoming, that it is the story of four generations of Noongar women of which she is the sixth. The poems are ‘fragments of many stars’ in her ‘grandmothers’ constellations’. Shiosaki ‘tracks her grandmothers’ stars’ to find her ‘bidi home’. The introduction reads as a beautifully crafted prose poem that contextualises the works that follow.

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‘You not waibala, you not blackfella. You in between.’ So Granny Wiring tells Muraging, the protagonist in Julie Janson’s latest thought-provoking novel, Benevolence. While this is not Janson’s first foray into historical fiction – The Light Horse Ghost was published in 2018 – it is a tale close to her heart. While Benevolence is based on the oral histories of Darug elders and the archival snippets of her own great-great-grandmother, Janson’s characters evoke notions of belonging and benevolence in early settler Australia. Primarily set on Darug country between 1813 and 1842, Benevolence draws attention to the survival and adaptation of Aboriginal communities in the face of the destruction wrought by colonialism.

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A whistleblower’s child hides from a drug ring in the Blue Mountains. A sixteen-year-old rolls through life like an armadillo. A Melbourne high-school graduate wrestles with her insecurities. The daughter of a Chinese restaurateur juggles her responsibility to care for her siblings as her mother’s health deteriorates.

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A Stolen Life: The Bruce Trevorrow case by Antonio Buti & My Longest Round by Wally Carr and Gaele Sobott

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August 2019, no. 413

Philip Larkin famously suggested that ‘they fuck you up, your mum and dad’, but the alternative is usually worse. Twenty years before Larkin wrote ‘This Be the Verse’, his compatriot John Bowlby published Maternal Care and Mental Health (1951), which described profound mental health consequences when ...

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Blakwork by Alison Whittaker & Walking with Camels: The story of Bertha Strehlow by Leni Shilton

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April 2019, no. 410

Alison Whittaker’s début collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire (2015), introduced a genuinely new voice to Australian poetry: that of a Gomeroi woman, a Fulbright scholar, and a poet who can bend and blend forms with the best of them. Her second collection of poems, Blakwork, places her firmly in both the ...

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To complement our 2017 ‘Books of the Year’, we invited several senior publishers to nominate their favourite books – all published by other companies.

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Communities, extended family connections, and role models have been keys to Aboriginal participation in Australian sport. Other factors – racist exclusion among them – have limited the appearance of Indigenous athletes in professional running and boxing. The high proportion of Aboriginal footballers now playing in the Australian Football League and both rugby codes inevitably begs the question of absences in other major sports.

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Merarra is the local name for the land near Walcott Inlet in the far north-west region of Western Australia where saltwater meets freshwater, coastland meets inland. And the ‘man from Merarra’ was the last ‘full’ speaker of the local, Unggumi language, a senior lawman and famous Kimberley stockman called Billy Munro, or, in his native tongue, Morndi.

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