Love is in the Air
Valentine’s Day is coming up so you might be thinking about giving your dearest something special next Sunday … and of course we would recommend a book or two! Tradition has it that St Valentine represents “courtly love”, but there are other ways love can express itself. Love of nature, love of cooking, love of literature, love of art … all of these are at the heart of reading books, and sharing those experiences with your nearest friends and family.
And, we do gift wrapping!
Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
Whatever disadvantages we might have with a federal system in Australia, at least it does mean that we have a series of state and territory prizes for literature through each year—a worthy boost to the work of our writers, as well as bringing public attention to their work.
This week, it was Victoria’s turn —with Australia’s richest literary prize – with some great announcements for the work of Australian writers.
Debut novel The Animals in That Country by Victorian writer Laura Jean McKay won the major prize as well as the Fiction Award! In the words of one of our customers, “So well deserved. Have never read anything like it in my life.”
Talking the talk
While Australia is largely thought of as a monolingual, English speaking, country, this is certainly not the case for Red Kangaroo, with its extensive collections of work in a variety of Aboriginal languages: Arrernte, Pitjantjatjara, Pintupi-Luritja, Warlpiri, Kaytetj, Anmatyerre—the list goes on. These non-English titles range from children’s stories, school texts to dictionaries and academic texts, through to the work of local Aboriginal prose and poetry writers.
So our attention was drawn this week to a web site that lets us hear the words of so many Aboriginal languages across Australia. Central Australian languages are a bit under represented—but the site is welcoming people to add to, or make corrections, to, languages on the site.
For details of Aboriginal Language books in-store follow this link.
Enjoy the week!
Bronwyn, John, Stephanie, Jo, Alex & Bernadette
Spotlight: Growing up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay
A rich collection of writing from those negotiating disability in their lives – a group whose voices are not heard often enough.
‘My body and its place in the world seemed normal to me. Why wouldn’t it?’
‘I didn’t grow up disabled; I grew up with a problem. A problem that those around me wanted to fix.’
‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’
‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’
‘Don’t fear the labels.’
‘That identity, which I feared for so long, is now one of my greatest qualities.’
‘I had become disabled – not just by my disease, but by the way the world treated me. When I found that out, everything changed.’
One in five Australians has a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. In Growing Up Disabled in Australia – compiled by writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay OAM – more than forty writers with a disability or chronic illness share their stories, in their own words. The result is illuminating.
Contributors include senator Jordon Steele-John, paralympian Isis Holt, Dion Beasley, Sam Drummond, Astrid Edwards, Sarah Firth, El Gibbs, Eliza Hull, Gayle Kennedy, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Fiona Murphy, Jessica Walton and many more.
Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize
Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks.
Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.
As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean’s infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin.
Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species. Bold, exhilarating, and wholly original, The Animals in That Country asks what would happen, for better or worse, if we finally understood what animals were saying.
Note many of these books are on back-order, you can check ETA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org