'A reconciliation movement spread across Australia during the 1990s, bringing significant marches, speeches, and policies across the country. Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians began imagining race relations in new ways and articulations of place, belonging, and being together began informing literature of a unique new genre. This book explores the political and poetic paradigms of reconciliation represented in Australian writing of this period. The author brings together textual evidence of themes and a vernacular contributing to the emergent genre of reconciliatory literature. The nexus between resistance and reconciliation is explored as a complex process to understanding sovereignty, colonial history, and the future of society. Moreover, this book argues it is creative writing that is most necessary for a deeper understanding of each other and of place, because it is writing that calls one to witness, to feel, and to imagine all at the same time.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'Alexis Wright is a Word Carver whose tattoo, in Carpentaria, recalls ancient ancestral spirit journeys. Not since The Bone People took the world by storm and won its Maori author Keri Hulme [Kai Tahu] the coveted Booker Prize, deservedly, has a book of this magnitude appeared from indigenous Australian/Aotearoan authors that could captivate its readers with the power of Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria. Wright’s first novel, Plains of Promise, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Let’s hope that Carpentaria wins it, and many more accolades. Alexis Wright is already known as “one of Australia’s finest indigenous writers”. Her work can stand alongside all their best writers.' (Introduction)
'The Indigenous Australian author Alexis Wright has developed a novelistic oeuvre that experiments with written forms of fiction, and paints an Aboriginal universe that does not need European epistemology to sustain itself. Rather, it questions western values, certainties, and convictions and problematizes the western way of seeing and doing in the island-continent. Her latest novel, The Swan Book, in manifesting its spiritual and mystical connections to the holistic universe known as the Dreamtime, foregrounds this epistemological turn, which is premised on the ontological relationship Aboriginal people have with “Country,” their traditional land. Alexis Wright’s fiction, which she herself has called an instance of “Aboriginal reality” or “Aboriginal realism,” as opposed to magic realism, is an epic tour de force that juxtaposes the Indigenous and European traditions in startling ways but also speaks across a cultural divide – the discursive gap between colonized and colonizer, belonging and non-belonging, assimilation and sovereignty – which this essay will address.' (Publication abstract)
'Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria was translated by Li Yao into Chinese in 2012. The following text describes Li Yao’s personal reflections on this translation, the reasons for Carpentaria’s success in China, and connected projects that the translation has led to. Beside promoting Aboriginal literature in China, translating Carpentaria has allowed Li Yao to build connections with Alexis Wright, as well as with fellow academics working in other Chinese universities and Chinese artists living in China and abroad.' (Publication abstract)
'This paper analyzes the way in which Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria recreates the space of Indigenous country. Looking at the environment and the focus on locality from a regional perspective, I argue that geographic space is used as a subversive place of reality and history so that Indigeneity is a matter of intersubjective relations (M. Langton) and is constantly conceptualized in a process of dialogue, representation, and imagination. I thus examine the focal positioning of the natural environment to show how the manifestation of place and Dreaming tracks annihilate an imagined colonial reality and tend to reconfigure the postcolonial present.' (Publication abstract)
Wright describes what drove her to write her novel Carpentaria, stating that 'For a long time while I was exploring how to write Carpentaria, I tried to come to some understanding of two principal questions: firstly, how to understand the idea of Indigenous people living with the stories of all the times of this country, and secondly, how to write from this perspective.'