'Autobiographies by Aboriginal Women writers have gradually emerged for almost three decades now. Varied and interesting experiments are visible in the life-writing form by Aboriginal writers. In an attempt to write accounts of their own life and experiences, Aboriginal writers have employed different narrative techniques and methods. This chapter is a case study of life narratives by two contemporary Aboriginal women writers Jackie Huggins (Auntie Rita) and Jeanine Leane (Purple Threads.) The focus is on the different methods of writing while “recalling the past”. Interestingly, these narratives create “matriarchal spaces” of expression being written by women who are recalling either their mother’s experiences or Aunties’ stories. The chapter makes an attempt to relocate this idea of history from a feminist perspective.'
'Although Australian indigenous poetry is often overtly polemical and politically committed, any reading which analyzes it as mere propaganda is too narrow to do it justice. By presenting the verse of Alf Taylor collected in Singer Songwriter (1992) and Winds (1994) and discussing it in the context of the wider social and cultural milieu of the author, my essay aims to show the thematic richness of indigenous poetic expression. Indigenous poets have, on the one hand, undertaken the responsibility to strive for social and political equality and foster within their communities the very important concept that indigenous peoples can survive only as a community and a nation (McGuiness). On the other hand, they have produced powerful self-revelatory accounts of their own mental and emotional interior, which urges us to see their careers in a perspective much wider than that of social chroniclers and rebels.' (Publication abstract)
'This is a story about how I came to write. In 2010, when I was in my late 40s,
I completed a PhD and wrote a volume of poetry and a novel. This is a story. It is not an essay or an article or a treatise or anything else that ‘scholarly’ writing is called in western literature. This is a story because Aboriginal people live for and by stories. This is the story about how I came to write all that I did and how I came to find my place and my voice in a nation that until the early 1970s was dominated by an official White Australia Policy. It can be argued that, even in the twenty-first century, vestiges of the ‘white nation’ still prevail.' (Introduction)
'Purple Threads, by Jeanine Leane, embodies country. Images of the land are physically and emotionally evoked in the individual stories that make up this short story cycle, running through the stories as delicately as strands of purple wisteria and as powerfully as the Murrumbidgee River flows and then surges through the countryside where they are set. In this article I aim to demonstrate how two features of the short story cycle - the independence and interrelatedness of the stories in the cycle, and the longer story within the cycle - help to convey the multifarious connections people can have to their country, family and the places they call home.
Leane draws on her own experiences to articulate formative incidents in a young girl’s life that explore what it meant to be an Aboriginal girl growing up in central NSW in the 1960s and ’70s. The development of Sunny’s cultural and ethnic identity is inseparable from her relationship with country, nurtured by her Nan and Aunties’ love and respect for the land, and challenged by a Dorothy-esque journey that carries her far away to a foreign country in search of family, and back again to the place she feels most loved and secure.
'This article thus explores the importance of country in Sunny’s growing awareness of her identity, and forms part of a broader project on the representations of women’s lives in the short story cycle.' (Publication abstract)