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y separately published work icon Requiem for a Beast single work   graphic novel   young adult  
Alternative title: Requiem for a Beast : A Work for Images, Word and Music
Issue Details: First known date: 2007... 2007 Requiem for a Beast
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Requiem for a Beast is a remarkable exploration of the parallels between a young man's battle for psychological freedom and the processes that bind and blind us in society. Matt Ottley asks readers to be moved by beauty, truth and ultimately the knowledge of their own humanity.

The book contains a CD of orchestral music, composed by Matt Ottley, and Aboriginal song - another meeting of worlds like those in the words and images.' 

Source: Back cover.



  • Author's note: "Notes on the CD

    Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are warned that the Requiem for a Beast CD contains the voices of deceased persons.

    The narrative of Requiem for a Beast could be set in a number of locations within Australia, but the Aboriginal language used in teh recording is from the Bundjalung Nation, whose country incorporates the north-east corner of New South Wales. The Bundjalung language is closely related to its southern neighbour, Gumbaynggirr, and to the Yugambeh language of south-east Queensland. Within Bundjalung there are also several dialects or regional variations base don family or kinship groups.

    Since the late 1800s many Aboriginal people have been displaced from their own cultures and country by various government assimilation policies, also resulting the mixing of languages from different areas. In northern NSW this mixing of languages has included Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr, Gidabul and Gamilaraay. The songs and stories recorded on this CD are indicative of this mixing of languages.

    Aboriginal words can have multi-layered meanings. In the Ghsot Story song, for example (Movement One, Dies Irae), the words kidhur kilangangawan translate as 'grey dead person', the full meaning of which referes to the spirit of a deceased Aboriginal man. This is how Europeans came to be seen as ghosts. In many indigenous languages the word for European/whitefella was ghost.

    Poor Fellow Song (movement Three, Lacrymosa) is one of many veresions, an dis generally accepted as being about someone who is not in their own country.

    The Latin text for the four movements is an excerpt from the anonymous twelfth-century Roman Catholic poem known as Requiem, which has become an iconic European text, set to music by many composers through past centuries.

    All music apart from the Bundjalung songs was composed by Matt Ottley. The Bundjalung songs are traditional, apart from Song 2 (Ngadhangahli), which was composed in the traditional form by Shayne Gordon."

    (Requiem for a Beast, p. 90)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Language: English , Aboriginal Bundjalung AIATSIS ref. (E12) (NSW SH56-02). The term, Bundjalung, is used as a cover term (language name) for a number of related dialects. Termed Bundjalung proper, it is also used to refer to one of the dialects, one which is spoken around Coraki. Thus, Bundjalung is used as both a language name and a dialect name. Yugambeh is in this group of dialects and uses the term, Yugambeh-Bundjalung as a cover term instead. , Latin
    • South Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Lothian , 2007 .
      image of person or book cover 5957376123250906848.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 90p.
      Description: col. illus., plus 1 audio CD
      • Includes an audio component with accompanying music of Bundjalung songs plus compositions by Ottley based on the Roman Catholic Requiem.

        Bundjalung narrator: Linky Gordon

        Bundjalung singer: Shayne Gordon.

      • Contains Latin and Bundjalung text in chapter headings and song lyrics.

      ISBN: 0734407963 (hbk), 9780734407962

Works about this Work

Friday Essay: Feminist Medusas and Outback Minotaurs – Why Myth Is Big in Children’s Books Elizabeth Hale , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 3 June 2016;

'... Monsters from classical myth have been lurking in the gullies of Western literature for a long time – in retellings and adaptations, and acting as symbols and metaphors for aspects of the human experience.'

'They’ve been surfacing recently in fantasy for children and young adults. Imaginary Medusas, realistically drawn Minotaurs, as well as a multitude of many-headed Scyllas, Hydras and Cerberuses: they all appear in Australian children’s and YA fiction. ...'

Visions and Values : The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Prizing of Picture Books in the Twenty-First Century Erica Hateley , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Canon Constitution and Canon Change in Children's Literature 2016; (p. 205-221)

'The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) administers the oldest national prize for children’s literature in Australia. Each year, the CBCA confers “Book of the Year” awards to literature for young people in five categories: Older Readers, Younger Readers, Early Childhood, Picture Books and Information Books. In recent years the Picture Book category has emerged as a highly visible space within which the CBCA can contest discourses of cultural marginalization which construct Australian (‘colonial’) literature as inferior or adjunct to the major Anglophone literary traditions, and children’s literature as lesser than its adult counterpart. The CBCA has moved from asserting its authority by withholding judgment in the award’s early years towards asserting expertise via overtly politicized selections in the twenty-first century. Reading across the CBCA’s selections of picture books allows for insights into wider trends in Australian children’s literature and culture, and suggests a conscious engagement with social as well as literary values on the part of the CBCA in the twenty-first century.'

Productive Anxieties : Lostness in The Arrival and Requiem for a Beast Erica Hateley , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , vol. 23 no. 1 2015; (p. 73-86)

"The trope of lostness [...] animates complex critical considerations of culture and subjectivity as in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival (2006) and Matt Ottley’s Requiem for a Beast: A Work for Image, Word and Music (2007), where the experience of lostness shapes the protagonists’ journeys, and is understood (like the books themselves) as applicable to children and adults." (Source: introduction)

Picture Books as Graphic Novels and Vice Versa : The Australian Experience John Foster , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Bookbird , vol. 49 no. 4 2011; (p. 68-75)
Visual Identities : Australianness in Australian Picture Books Pam Macintyre , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings 2011; (p. 352-368)
‘The literature written for young people can be a vehicle for mediating change in mainstream attitudes, or it can confirm existing values. As with all literature, it carries ideologies. In this chapter, I will focus on the picture book, which constructs its meanings through dual visual and written texts. In particular, I will analyse selected, recent award-winning Australian picture books for their representations of ‘Australianness’.’ (From author’s introduction, p. 352)
[Review] Requiem for a Beast Heath Graham , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , June vol. 86 no. 9 2007; (p. 61)

— Review of Requiem for a Beast Matt Ottley , 2007 single work graphic novel
Books Children's Emma Rodgers , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 11 - 12 August 2007; (p. 26)

— Review of Requiem for a Beast Matt Ottley , 2007 single work graphic novel
[Review] Requiem for a Beast Chloe Mauger , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Magpies : Talking About Books for Children , September vol. 22 no. 4 2007; (p. 38)

— Review of Requiem for a Beast Matt Ottley , 2007 single work graphic novel
[Review] Requiem for a Beast Linnet Hunter , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Viewpoint : On Books for Young Adults , Summer vol. 15 no. 4 2007; (p. 22)

— Review of Requiem for a Beast Matt Ottley , 2007 single work graphic novel
[Review] Requiem for a Beast Sharon Seymour , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , November vol. 51 no. 4 2007; (p. 7)

— Review of Requiem for a Beast Matt Ottley , 2007 single work graphic novel
Blood and Violence Raises Hostile Reaction to Picture Book Winner Sarina Talip , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 August 2008; (p. 3)
Awards Sequel for Cat Picture-Book Project Deborah Bogle , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 16 August 2008; (p. 22)
A Book of Beastly Tales Stephanie Owen Reeder , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 23 August 2008; (p. 8-9)
Stephanie Owen Reeder charts the rise of picture books 'with dark themes' both in Australia and overseas and asks 'Is it time for the [Children's Book Council of Australia] to review all its categories and decide whether age or format should be the underlying criterion?'
'Foul' Kids' Book One of Century's Best Rosemary Sorensen , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 23-24 August 2008; (p. 9)
Vengeance Without Warning Jason Steger , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 20 September 2008; (p. 23)
A column canvassing current literary news including a brief report on John Birmingham's novel Without Warning and a comment on the use of strong language in Matt Ottley's Requiem for a Beast.
Last amended 10 Jan 2019 09:28:15