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y Plains of Promise single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1997 1997
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In this brilliant debut novel, Alexis Wright evokes city and outback, deepening our understanding of human ambition and failure, and making the timeless heart and soul of this country pulsate on the page. Black and white cultures collide in a thousand ways as Aboriginal spirituality clashes with the complex brutality of colonisation at St Dominic's mission. With her political awareness raised by work with the city-based Aboriginal Coalition, Mary visits the old mission in the northern Gulf country, place of her mother's and grandmother's suffering. Mary's return reignites community anxieties, and the Council of Elders again turn to their spirit world.' (From the publisher's website.)

Notes

  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Les Plaines de l'Espoir
Language: French
    • Arles,
      c
      France,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Actes Sud , 1999 .
      5988299435229240183.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 335p.
      Note/s:
      • Babel series, 544.
      • Traduction de: Plains of promise.
      ISBN: 2742738509, 9782742738502, 276092274X, 9782760922747
    • Arles,
      c
      France,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Actes Sud , 2002 .
      2307336186010162024.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 335p.
      ISBN: 2742724893, 9782742724895

Works about this Work

Plains of Promise: Aux frontières de l’identité aborigène Cécile Fouache , single work essay criticism
Alexis Wright’s Fiction as World Making Linda Daley , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Contemporary Women's Writing , March vol. 10 no. 1 2016; (p. 8-23)
'This essay examines Indigenous Australian writer Alexis Wright’s novels Plains of Promise (1997) and The Swan Book (2013), alongside debates within world literature. These debates prize open the crucial distinction between spatial and temporal understandings of the Earth and the unique agency of literature to make a world. I claim that these debates provide insights compatible with those of Wright’s fiction, which is realist, modernist, and “epical” in its style of connecting contemporary and historical stories to the “ancient literature of this land,” and in performing the interconnection of language with other nonlinguistic forces in her narratives (Wright 2008). Wright’s literature makes a strong case for thinking the material, aesthetic, and political nature of the literary work as a force that opens a world.' (Publication abstract)
Ambiguity in Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise Katie Valenta , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia, , vol. 3 no. 2 2012; (p. 47-58)
'This paper examines the critical reception of Alexis Wright's Plains of Promise as a piece of magical realism, and suggests that it should be read as something of a preparatory text for Wright's later and more highly acclaimed work, Carpentaria.' (Author's abstract)
Writing White, Writing Black, and Events at Canoe Rivulet Catherine McKinnon , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : Journal of Writing and Writing Courses , October vol. 16 no. 2 2012;
'How a community imagines the past contributes to the shaping of its present culture; influences that community's vision for the future. Yet much about the past can be difficult to access, as it can be lost or hidden. Therefore, when retelling first contact stories, especially when the documentary information is limited to a colonial perspective, how might a writer approach fictionalizing historical Indigenous figures? 'Will Martin' (2011), a tale written as part of my practice-led PhD, is a fictional retelling of the eighteenth century sailing trip, taken along the New South Wales coast, by explorers Matthew Flinders, George Bass, and Bass's servant, William Martin. This paper traces my attempts to discover how to approach fictionalizing the historical Indigenous figures that Flinders met. Examining how some non-Indigenous writers have appropriated Indigenous culture and investigating what some writers have said about non-Indigenous writers creating Indigenous characters, provided me with some guidelines. Interviews with Indigenous elders, and other members of the Illawarra community, helped me imagine the gaps in knowledge. In the fictional retelling, using unreliable narration to suggest there may be multiple stories around a single historical event, some of which we may never get to hear, became a useful narrative strategy.' (Author's abstract)
Dreamtime Narrative and Postcolonisation: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria as an Antidote to the Discourse of Intervention Cornelis Martin Renes , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 2 no. 1 2011; (p. 102-122)

'On 21st June 2007, Alexis Wright won Australia’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin Prize, for Carpentaria (2006) and received broad national attention as the first Indigenous Australian to be its sole recipient. This recognition of Indigenous cultural output coincided with the Federal decision to intervene the highly troubled, dysfunctional Aboriginal population in remote communities of the Northern Territory with a military and police task force. This paradox of recognition-repression highlights the tense edges of the Indigenous/non-Indigenous interface in contemporary Australia and reveals the continuing gap between Indigenous fact and fiction, reality and hope for a better future. As a textual locus of Indigenous cultural regeneration, Carpentaria questions the invasive nature of the Federal intervention in several ways. Not only does the novel stand out for bending Western literary genres into an Indigenous story-telling mode, but also for having “Dreamtime Narrative” critically engage with the neo-colonial management of Australian resources and human relations. Mainstream readers are exposed to the “strange cultural survival” (Bhabha 1990: 320) of the Indigenous diaspora that proposes drastic solutions for the devastation wreaked upon the Australian land through capitalism and its cultural corollaries. This article contextualises Wright’s fiction within wider developments in recent Indigenous literature and history, and traces how her awarded novel Carpentaria activates an Aboriginal epistemology of understanding human and country which defies mainstream politics of I/intervention and beckons towards a fresh beginning for Australia through a profound change of paradigm.' Source: Martin Renes.

Storylines Stephanie Honor Convery , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Spring vol. 70 no. 3 2011; (p. 85-91)
(Re)Writing the End of the World : Apocalypse, Race, and Indigenous Literature Roslyn Weaver , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film : A Critical Study 2011; (p. 135-158)
'This chapter addresses apocalyptic writing in the context of race, and specifically authors who rewrite Australian history as apocalypse to represent the impact of white colonization on Indigenous peoples. The disaster scenarios of apocalypse can allow minority groups to invent a new world in which to challenge and change dominant cultural constructions for widely differing agendas. The apocalyptic paradigm of revelation and disaster can work effectively to interrogate the history of colonization and relations between white and Indigenous Australians.' (136)
Land as Mediator : Violence and Hope in Alexis Wright's Plains of Promise Paula Anca Farca , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Identity In Place : Contemporary Indigenous Fiction by Women Writers in The United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand 2011; (p. 95-112)
Author is Made of the Wright Stuff 2010 single work column
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 21 January vol. 9 no. 193 2010; (p. 34)
Land as Mediator : Violence and Hope in Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise Paula Anca Farca , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Journal of Australian Writers and Writing , May no. 1 2010; (p. 29-36)
'Born in Cloncurry, Queensland and affiliated with the Waanji people of the highlands of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Austral¬ian author Alexis Wright wrote her debut novel Plains of Promise in 1997. Wright deals with is¬sues such as the brutal assimilation of Aboriginal people at St. Dominic’s Mission and their struggles to maintain connection with their communities, families and homelands. Since the settlers sepa¬rated Aboriginal family members and interfered in their relations with the land and each other, these relations had to be reinvented. Aborigi¬nal characters make use of the land and natural world to communicate to each other and respond to the violence of colonisation.' (p. 29)
Spaces of Hybridity : Creating a Sense of Belonging through Spatial Awareness Lesley Hawkes , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 93-107)
Negotiating Subjectivity : Indigenous Feminist Praxis and the Politics of Aboriginality in Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise and Melissa Lucashenko’s Steam Pigs Tomoko Ichitani , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 185-202)
History and the Novel : Refusing to Be Silent Jo Jones , 2010 single work essay
— Appears in: Westerly , November vol. 55 no. 2 2010; (p. 36-52)
Argues that Australian historical fiction is important in considering the progress of Aboriginal-white relations.
'All are Implicated' : Violence and Accountability in Sam Watson's The Kadaitcha Sung and Alexis Wright's Plains of Promise Kate Hall , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Frontier Skirmishes : Literary and Cultural Debates in Australia after 1992 2010; (p. 199-216)
What Falls from View? On Re-Reading Alexis Wright's Plains of Promise Alison Ravenscroft , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , November vol. 25 no. 4 2010; (p. 70-84)
'Reading is a visual practice. It always involves a scene. What scenes do white readers of Plains of Promise gaze upon as they hold its pages in their hands? If the visual field is always structured by desire - in the words of Parveen Adams, 'I enjoy what I see and I see what I enjoy' (111) - then a question insists: what scenes can white readers see when we read an Indigenous-signed text such as this one? What scene will our desires produce, and what might fall from view.' (Introduction, p. 70)
Con-Juring the Phantom : Spectral Memories Katrin Althans , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Darkness Subverted : Aboriginal Gothic in Black Australian Literature and Film 2010; (p. 116-146)
Beyond Capricornia : Ambiguous Promise in Alexis Wright Paul Sharrad , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 24 no. 1 2009; (p. 52-65)
The article discusses the polarised response to Wright's work. The author argues that it is Wright's 'blend of realism and the visionary that marks the ambiguity and the promise of her creative work' (60).
The Outback Pablo Armellino , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ob-Scene Spaces in Australian Narrative : An Account of the Socio-Topographic Construction of Space in Australian Literature 2009; (p. 57-188)
'Blackfella Loving' Ronald M. Berndt , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Messengers of Eros : Representations of Sex in Australian Writing 2009; (p. 317-340)
National Mythologies and Secret Histories: Faultlines in the Bark Hut in Some Recent Australian Fiction Carol Merli , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southern Postcolonialisms: The Global South and the 'New' Literary Representations 2009; (p. 205-217)
The Pointed Review Larissa Behrendt , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 29 November vol. 6 no. 143 2007; (p. 30)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright 2006 single work novel ; Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Problems with Victim Support Rosemary Sorensen , 1997 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 4 May 1997; (p. 8)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Abused and Beaten Tegan Bennett , 1997 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 10-11 May 1997; (p. rev 9)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel ; The Ballad of Siddy Church Lin Van Hek 1997 single work novel
Generations Suffer the Agony and the Exodus Nicholas Jose , 1997 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 May 1997; (p. 9s)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Books in Brief Jim Buckell , 1997 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian's Review of Books , May vol. 2 no. 4 1997; (p. 28)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
A Powerful New Black Voice Liam Davison , 1997 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June no. 191 1997; (p. 42)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Untitled Lisa Bellear , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , no. 56 1998; (p. 194-195)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Untitled Carolyn Bliss , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: World Literature Today , Summer vol. 72 no. 3 1998; (p. 681-682)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel
Brutality by Any Other Name Marilyn Strelau , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 12 no. 2 1998; (p. 119)

— Review of Plains of Promise Alexis Wright 1997 single work novel ; Steam Pigs Melissa Lucashenko 1997 single work novel
Re-Surfacing through Palimpsests : A (False) Quest for Reposession in the Works of Mudrooroo and Alexis Wright Francoise Kral , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Commonwealth , vol. 25 no. 1 2002; (p. 7-14)
Author's abstract: Mudrooroo and Alexis Wright seem to have little in common. Mudrooroo belongs to the first generation of Australian Aboriginal writers and wrote many novels and critical studies as well as poetry. As for Alexis Wright, she wrote her first novel in 1997. Yet the landscapes they describe are charaterized by the same tension between a homogeneous surface and sub-layers that criss-cross, overlap and surface, thus posing a threat to the apparent unity of colonial space. This essay addresses the issue of palimpsestic landscapes and characters as clues to pinpoint the specificities of Aboriginal aesthetics. It also focuses on the use of intertextual references as a means to subvert colonial discourse.
Homelands vs 'The Tropics' : Crossing the Line Lyn Jacobs , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 2 no. 2003; (p. 167-178)
'In Australian fictions, "the tropics" feature as paradisiacal retreats, mosquito-infested war zones, touristic destinations or sites-of-last-resort on terminal pathways north. But they are also homelands and cross-cultural spaces where the nexus between Indigenous and non-indigenous people, as well as the environment, climate and geography, is distinctive ... This paper considers "the tropics" as contested sites in Australia and New Guinea, and indicates tensions between writing about or from within homelands' (p.167).
An Interview with Alexis Wright Jean-François Vernay (interviewer), 2004 single work interview
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 18 no. 2 2004; (p. 119-122)
Discomforting Readings : Uncanny Perceptions of Self in Alexis Wright's 'Plains of Promise' and David Malouf's 'Remembering Babylon' Cornelis Martin Renes , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Eucalypt , February no. 2 2003;
Cross-Cultural Alliances : Exploring Aboriginal Asian Literary and Cultural Production Peta Stephenson , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Lost in the Whitewash : Aboriginal-Asian Encounters in Australia, 1901-2001 2003; (p. 143-162)
Peta Stephenson surveys Aboriginal-Asian cross-cultural production, considering representations of Aboriginal-Asian relations, influences on the construction of contemporary Aboriginality, and Aboriginal perceptions of Asian identity.
Future's Imperfect Suvendrini Perera , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: Alter/Asians : Asian-Australian Identities in Art, Media and Popular Culture 2000; (p. 3-24; Notes: 280-281)

Perera situates her exploration of Australian histories and futures 'in the context of the millennium and its anxieties'. She considers the appeal of 'Hansonism' and draws on a range of literary texts to demonstrate the limits and the potential of the imperfect, ideal of 'coexistence'.

Wright Notches Up Another Win Amy McQuire , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 20 September vol. 6 no. 138 2007; (p. 15)
Clean White Girls : Assimilation and Women's Work Francesca Bartlett , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Hecate , vol. 25 no. 1 1999; (p. 10-38) Unmasking Whiteness : Race Relations and Reconciliation 1999; (p. 52-67)
In her essay, Bartlett analyses 'the narrative of cleanliness,' its role in assimilationist discourse and dissemination through magazines, newspapers and documentaries, and its application and impact upon Indigenous girls lives as represented in a number of Indigenous life-writing texts.
White Blindfolds and Black Armbands : The Uses of Whiteness Theory for Reading Australian Cultural Production Carole Ferrier , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , May vol. 6 no. 1 1999; (p. 42-49) Unmasking Whiteness : Race Relations and Reconciliation 1999; (p. 68-78)
'A Vision through the Smoky Haze' : Viewing Corroboree in Selected Australian Novels Melinda Rose Jewell , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Studies , vol. 20 no. 1&2 2005; (p. 31-54)
"Fiction portraying the experiences of Australian Indigenous people often contains depictions of the 'corroboree'. This representation commonly conveys a scenario in which Indigenous people dance while being watched by white spectators. This establishes a relationship between seeing and knowing that locates power in the hands of the white observers. Later in this century, both non-Indigenous, then more typically Indigenous authors, deconstruct the power structures at work in these portrayals." (31)
Beyond Capricornia : Ambiguous Promise in Alexis Wright Paul Sharrad , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 24 no. 1 2009; (p. 52-65)
The article discusses the polarised response to Wright's work. The author argues that it is Wright's 'blend of realism and the visionary that marks the ambiguity and the promise of her creative work' (60).
The Outback Pablo Armellino , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ob-Scene Spaces in Australian Narrative : An Account of the Socio-Topographic Construction of Space in Australian Literature 2009; (p. 57-188)
Author is Made of the Wright Stuff 2010 single work column
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times , 21 January vol. 9 no. 193 2010; (p. 34)
'Blackfella Loving' Ronald M. Berndt , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Messengers of Eros : Representations of Sex in Australian Writing 2009; (p. 317-340)
Land as Mediator : Violence and Hope in Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise Paula Anca Farca , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Journal of Australian Writers and Writing , May no. 1 2010; (p. 29-36)
'Born in Cloncurry, Queensland and affiliated with the Waanji people of the highlands of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Austral¬ian author Alexis Wright wrote her debut novel Plains of Promise in 1997. Wright deals with is¬sues such as the brutal assimilation of Aboriginal people at St. Dominic’s Mission and their struggles to maintain connection with their communities, families and homelands. Since the settlers sepa¬rated Aboriginal family members and interfered in their relations with the land and each other, these relations had to be reinvented. Aborigi¬nal characters make use of the land and natural world to communicate to each other and respond to the violence of colonisation.' (p. 29)
Spaces of Hybridity : Creating a Sense of Belonging through Spatial Awareness Lesley Hawkes , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 93-107)
Negotiating Subjectivity : Indigenous Feminist Praxis and the Politics of Aboriginality in Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise and Melissa Lucashenko’s Steam Pigs Tomoko Ichitani , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 185-202)
History and the Novel : Refusing to Be Silent Jo Jones , 2010 single work essay
— Appears in: Westerly , November vol. 55 no. 2 2010; (p. 36-52)
Argues that Australian historical fiction is important in considering the progress of Aboriginal-white relations.
'All are Implicated' : Violence and Accountability in Sam Watson's The Kadaitcha Sung and Alexis Wright's Plains of Promise Kate Hall , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Frontier Skirmishes : Literary and Cultural Debates in Australia after 1992 2010; (p. 199-216)
Dreamtime Narrative and Postcolonisation: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria as an Antidote to the Discourse of Intervention Cornelis Martin Renes , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 2 no. 1 2011; (p. 102-122)

'On 21st June 2007, Alexis Wright won Australia’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin Prize, for Carpentaria (2006) and received broad national attention as the first Indigenous Australian to be its sole recipient. This recognition of Indigenous cultural output coincided with the Federal decision to intervene the highly troubled, dysfunctional Aboriginal population in remote communities of the Northern Territory with a military and police task force. This paradox of recognition-repression highlights the tense edges of the Indigenous/non-Indigenous interface in contemporary Australia and reveals the continuing gap between Indigenous fact and fiction, reality and hope for a better future. As a textual locus of Indigenous cultural regeneration, Carpentaria questions the invasive nature of the Federal intervention in several ways. Not only does the novel stand out for bending Western literary genres into an Indigenous story-telling mode, but also for having “Dreamtime Narrative” critically engage with the neo-colonial management of Australian resources and human relations. Mainstream readers are exposed to the “strange cultural survival” (Bhabha 1990: 320) of the Indigenous diaspora that proposes drastic solutions for the devastation wreaked upon the Australian land through capitalism and its cultural corollaries. This article contextualises Wright’s fiction within wider developments in recent Indigenous literature and history, and traces how her awarded novel Carpentaria activates an Aboriginal epistemology of understanding human and country which defies mainstream politics of I/intervention and beckons towards a fresh beginning for Australia through a profound change of paradigm.' Source: Martin Renes.

Awards

1998 shortlisted International Awards Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book Award South-East Asia and Pacific Region
shortlisted The Age Book of the Year Award
shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards
Last amended 22 Jun 2016 14:18:00
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