The 2021 centenary of Raymond Williams’s birth was a moment of acknowledgment but also involved some assessment and testing of his ongoing relevance. Williams seemed to live many lives: son of a railway worker in rural Wales, Communist Party member, wartime tank commander, tutor in the Workers’ Educational Association, novelist, author of key texts within cultural and media studies, professor of drama at Cambridge University, founding figure of the British New Left, television reviewer and commentator, socialist activist and Welsh nationalist, cultural and Marxist theorist.
In 1985, following the publication of their collaborative works Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley and Reading the Country:Introduction to nomadology (with artist Krim Benterrak as co-author), Paddy Roe, possibly sensing that the young researcher would be of critical importance to his life’s project, suggested to Stephen Muecke that there needed to be a third book, The Children’s Country, about the rayi – the spirit children – and for human children to come. Muecke writes that he was unable to deliver the book at the time. Roe went on to establish the Lurujarri Heritage Trail following a songline along a ninety-kilometre stretch of coastline from Minyirr (Broome) to Minarriny (Coulomb Point).