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Ali Cobby Eckermann Ali Cobby Eckermann i(A96913 works by) (a.k.a. Alison Cobby Eckermann)
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Yankunytjatjara ; Aboriginal Kokatha
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Poet and writer, Ali Cobby Eckermann was born in 1963 at Brighton, Adelaide, on Kaurna Country, and grew up on Ngadjuri country between Blyth and Brinkworth in mid-north South Australia. She travelled extensively and lived most of her adult life on Arrernte country, Jawoyn country, and Larrakia country in the Northern Territory. When she was 34, Eckermann met her birth mother Audrey, and learnt that her mob was Yankunytjatjara from north-west South Australia. Her mother was born near Ooldea, south of Maralinga on Kokatha country. Eckermann also relates herself to the Kokatha mob.

Eckermann’s first book of poetry, Little Bit Long Time, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre as part of the New Poets series in 2009. Her poetry reflects her journey to reconnect with her Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha family. In 2011, her first verse novel, His Father’s Eyes, was published; aimed at young readers, it was published as part of the Yarning Strong series by Laguna Bay Publishing and Oxford University Press.

Her second verse novel, Ruby Moonlight, won the black&write! Indigenous Editing and Writing Project, was published in 2012 by Magabala Books, won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and was awarded Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2013.

Since then, she has published her autobiography Too Afraid to Cry (2013) and the collection of poetry Inside My Mother (2015). In 2016, one of her poems was translated into Bangla (the Bengali language) and published in Cordite.

In 2017, Eckermann won both the Red Room Poetry Fellowship and the Windham Campbell Prize (Poetry).


Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2023 shortlisted SA Literary Fellowships First Nations Fellowship
2023 recipient Varuna Fellowships First Nations Fellowship Flagship Fellowship for her historical fiction work ‘Kali’
2019 recipient Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships National Indigenous Arts Awards Fellowship (Literature)

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Inside My Mother Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2015 8546924 2015 selected work poetry

'In her memoir Too Afraid to Cry, published in 2013, Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann related how she had been tricked away from her mother as a baby, repeating the trauma her mother had suffered when she was taken from her grandmother many years before. Eckermann in turn had to give her own child up for adoption. In her new poetry collection, Inside my Mother, she explores the distance between the generations created by such experiences, felt as an interminable void in its darkest aspects, marked by sadness, withdrawal, yearning and mistrust, but in other ways a magical place ‘beyond the imagination’, lit by dreams and visions of startling intensity, populated by symbolic presences and scenes of ritual and commemoration, chief amongst them the separation and reunion of mother and child. Though the emotions are strong, they are expressed simply and with a sense of significance in nature which reminds one of the poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, whose successor Eckermann is.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2016 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Indigenous Writer's Prize
2018 shortlisted Festival Awards for Literature (SA) Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature John Bray Award for Poetry
2016 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Indigenous Writing
y separately published work icon Too Afraid to Cry Elsternwick : Ilura Press , 2013 Z1920596 2013 selected work autobiography

'Too Afraid to Cry is a memoir that, in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse, gives witness to the human cost of policies that created the Stolen Generations of Indigenous people in Australia.

'It is a narrative of good and evil, terror and happiness, despair and courage. It is the story of a people profoundly wronged, told through the frank eyes of a child, and the troubled mind of that child as an adult, whose life was irretrievably changed by being tricked away from her family and adopted into a German Lutheran family.

'What makes this book sing is not only Ali Cobby-Eckermann’s strong and unique narrative voice and her ability to cut to the essence of things in her poetry, but also the astounding courage with which she leads the reader through the complex account of a life in free-fall and a journey to wholeness through reconnection with her birth family and its ageless culture and wisdom.

'This is a brave book, written by a woman who has faced her demons, transformed her suffering into a work of art, and found her true sitting place in the world.' (Publisher's blurb)

2013 finalist Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Published Book Of The Year
y separately published work icon Ruby Moonlight Ruby Moonlight : A Novel of the Impact of Colonisation in Mid-North South Australia Around 1880 Broome : Magabala Books , 2012 Z1861301 2012 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'A verse novel that centres around the impact of colonisation in mid-north South Australia around 1880. Ruby, refugee of a massacre, shelters in the woods where she befriends an Irishman trapper. The poems convey how fear of discovery is overcome by the need for human contact, which, in a tense unravelling of events, is forcibly challenged by an Aboriginal lawman. The natural world is richly observed and Ruby’s courtship is measured by the turning of the seasons.'

Source: Magabala Books.

2013 winner New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Book of the Year
2014 shortlisted Festival Awards for Literature (SA) Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature John Bray Award for Poetry
2013 winner New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
2011 joint winner black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowships
2012 winner Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Outstanding Achievement in Literature
Last amended 19 Aug 2019 15:55:30
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