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John Muk Muk Burke John Muk Muk Burke i(A14501 works by) (a.k.a. Muk Muk (Bush Name); John Burke; John Mukky Burke; Mukky )
Born: Established: 1946 Narrandera, Narrandera area, Leeton - Narrandera area, Riverina - Murray area, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Aboriginal Wiradjuri ; Irish ; Aboriginal
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John Muk Muk Burke left school at fifteen and worked in the Post Office before going on a working holiday to New Zealand where he was eventually accepted into Auckland Teacher's College in 1967. He has taught in schools in New Zealand, Darwin and outback Northern Territory as a music and art teacher. Bourke has also lectured in History and English Literature at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Northern Territory University and worked with Aboriginal inmates at the Goulburn Correctional Centre. From 1998 to 2001, he was a judge for the Unaipon Award.

In 1989, Bourke travelled to Europe and wrote the first draft of Bridge of Triangles while he was in France. He says in everything he writes he tries to give shape to the experiences of Aboriginal people, including his family.

The recipient of the 1993 Unaipon Award and the 2000 Kate Challis RAKA Award, in 2018, he was on the steering committee of the Black Wallaby Writers Project.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Late Murrumbidgee Poems Melbourne : Cordite Press , 2020 18546204 2020 selected work poetry

'It is twenty years since Night Song and Other Poems was published. That was a poetic recording of my journey from childhood, through adolescence, marriage and a return to Australia from twelve years in Aotearoa New Zealand. The foci in that book – identity, family, childhood – were deliberately occluded. My sexuality, in the 1980s of its writing, was presented as though I was at the time a straight man coming to terms with my Wiradjuri heritage. I skirted around Aboriginal politics and identity.

'No more. The journey continues in this book and I, as tour guide, take you to unvisited, secret places that were definitely not seen to be acceptable or proper to visit in the past. The Mabo judgement informed much of my thinking in Night Song and there is no doubt that the same-sex marriage debate of 2018 and its outcome inform these poems. They are less tentative and far more certain in my expression of Aboriginal and sexual identity and acceptance.

'My real life experiences are here – expressed guts and all – far more honestly than before, and hang the consequences in the open. For me, wholly healthy. A long-time friend has often said, ‘It’s amazing how death changes you.’ Not living authentically has been a living death for me. Like the Ancient Mariner, I have unshackled multiple albatrosses from my being, and have finally blessed all those facets of myself once believed to be slimy, ugly and at all costs to be avoided. The Murrumbidgee is a river I was born next to … and now, seventy and more years later, am returned to.'

Source: Author's blurb (via Cordite).

2021 highly commended Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Indigenous Writing
y separately published work icon Night Song and Other Poems Darwin : Northern Territory University Press , 1999 Z1146352 1999 selected work poetry
2000 winner Australian Centre Literary Awards The Kate Challis RAKA Award Poetry
y separately published work icon Bridge of Triangles St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1994 Z24005 1994 single work novel 'Chris Leeton is tormented but also sustained by his growing need to cross over the landscape of his Aboriginal ancestors... In the struggle to keep the family together in Sydney's grim commission housing, schoolboy Chris is tender witness to poverty and despair. In time he comes to understand that they are exiles in their own land. He senses that it is his generation that must cross the bridge back to that landscape which defines his people's existence.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)
1993 winner Queensland Literary Awards Unpublished Indigenous Writer : David Unaipon Award
Last amended 1 May 2018 11:00:07
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