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Julie Janson

Julie Janson

Julie Janson is a Burruberongal woman of Darug Aboriginal nation and a novelist, playwright, and poet. While living in remote Northern Territory Aboriginal Yolngu communities in her early years as a teacher, Julie wrote plays. Her career as a playwright began at Belvoir St Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre and Sydney Opera House Studio. Her novels are Madukka the River Serpent (UWA Publishing), which was longlisted for Miles Franklin Award 2023, and Benevolence (Magabala 2020 and Harper Collins in USA and UK), which was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award in 2022 and nominated for the NIB Literary Award in 2020 and the Voss Literary Award in 2020. Her new novel, Compassion, will be published by Magabala in 2024.

Julie Janson reviews three Young Adult novels by Indigenous writers

January-February 2024, no. 461 19 December 2023
Melanie Saward, a Bigambul and Wakka Wakka writer living in Tulmur (Ipswich), is a fresh and insightful storyteller. Her first Young Adult novel, Burn (Affirm Press, $34.99 pb, 296 pp), is a tumultuous narrative about an Aboriginal youth, Andrew, and his obsession with lighting fires. It has a touch of Trent Dalton’s Brisbane struggle street, but the story draws us into psychological observation ... (read more)

Julie Janson reviews two new Indigenous poetry collections

October 2023, no. 458 24 September 2023
Ali Cobby Eckermann is an award-winning Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha poet and artist. In the words of Yugambeh writer Arlie Alizzi: ‘She Is the Earth is hypnotic, healing and transcendental.’ She Is the Earth is redolent of First Nations’ musicality, reminding us of Northeast Arnhem Land Yolngu song cycles and Central Australian Inma, but also of an Ancient Greek chorus, where women sing the epi ... (read more)

'Minyerri (now marked for fracking)', a new poem by Julie Janson

October 2023, no. 458 24 September 2023
Old Pelican sits by the billabong, he scratches his white hair sighing.Long time olden time, he says, this little girl goanna place.Wark wark crow listens, whistling duck swimming.Them whitemen come from South African Cold Storage Company.Reckon want Alawa land, clearim for cattle, might be 1929.‘My mum born that year,’ I whisper. Hot and sweaty.Want blackfella gone. Clearim up.Big mob whitefe ... (read more)