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Marie Munkara Marie Munkara i(A117473 works by)
Born: Established: Arnhem Land, Top End, Northern Territory, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Rembarrnga ; Tiwi people
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Marie Munkara is of Rembarranga and Tiwi descent and was born on the banks of the Mainoru River in central Arnhem Land. She went to Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands when she was about eighteen months old, was sent down south by Catholic missionaries when she was three years old, and went back to the Tiwi Islands when she was twenty eight. From 2009, she was living in Darwin.

Better known for her award-winning short stories, she has more recently published children's books Rusty Brown and Rusty and Jojo.

In 2016, she published Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea, the story of her search for her original family after being raised by a white Catholic family.

In 2018, she was completing a PhD at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Of Ashes and Rivers That Run to the Sea Sydney : Random House Australia , 2016 9332576 2016 single work autobiography

'Heartbreaking, darkly funny and deeply moving, Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea is a fearless account of being a young woman caught between two worlds.

'An old baptismal card falling out of a book changed the course of 28-year-old Marie Munkara's life forever. Until that moment she had no idea of her true origins in Arnhem Land.

'Delivered on the banks of the Mainoru River by her two grandmothers, Marie was fortunate not to have been thrown to the crocodiles, a fate reserved for babies born in her family with light skin. Knowing the child would be taken by the authorities, this matter-of-fact practice was considered much kinder for the babies and their families as it would save all from the heartbreak of separation and an unknown future for the child.

'But her grandmother Nellie had other ideas because she knew this one was 'special'. And so after the unexpected but welcome reprieve, Marie and her mother ended up on the Tiwi Islands before Marie was then taken and placed with a white family to be raised in Adelaide.

'After her chance finding of the baptismal card Marie went looking for her own family, leaving her strict Catholic establishment family aghast. Why dig up the past? But Marie knew without a doubt that she had to follow her heart or forever live to regret it.

'With devastating honesty, humour and courage, the award-winning author of Every Secret Thing shares her extraordinary journey of discovery to find her origins. ' (Publication summary)

2017 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Multicultural NSW Award
y separately published work icon Every Secret Thing 2008 St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2009 Z1523127 2008 selected work short story (taught in 4 units)

'In the Aboriginal missions of far northern Australia, it was a battle between saving souls and saving traditional culture.

'Every Secret Thing is a rough, tough, hilarious portrayal of the Bush Mob and the Mission Mob, and the hapless clergy trying to convert them. In these tales, everyone is fair game.

'At once playful and sharp, Marie Munkara's wonderfully original stories cast a taunting new light on the mission era in Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner Chief Minister's NT Book Awards
2008 winner Queensland Literary Awards Unpublished Indigenous Writer : David Unaipon Award
Last amended 5 Nov 2019 07:51:25
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