'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.
Unit Suitable ForAC: Year 10 (NSW Stage 5)
Find a summary table for Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions and NSW Syllabus outcomes for this unit.
Aboriginal history and culture, Books by Indigenous creators, History, Indigenous culture, relationships
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
'Ali Cobby Eckermann is one of Australia's finest poets. In this interview, she talks at length about Ruby Moonlight, her massacre verse novel exploring colonisation in Australia.
'Ruby Moonlight received the black&write! kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship and the Deadly Award Outstanding Achievement in Literature in 2012, as well as the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize and Book of the Year Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary and History Awards in 2013.
'In 2020 Ali is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. To listen to Ali speak about her other works, listen to this interview on The Garret, recorded in late 2019.'
Source: The Garret.
'In Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood (Norton, Mar. 2018), Ali Cobby Eckermann, one of the Stolen Generation--the Aboriginal children taken from their birth mothers to be raised in white families--describes in heartbreaking detail the unjust, racist treatment of her people by the Australian government. The book, written in both prose and poetry, came to be only after Eckermann's decades-long search for her Aboriginal family resulted in a transformative reunion with the mother she didn't know and numerous other relatives she didn't know existed. [...]I was out there with family and community members who were saying, 'Ali, you've got to write about this and stick up for us.'' (Publication summary)
'T he act of reading for appraisal rather than pleasure is a privilege that brings me to a deepened understanding of the contemporary in Australian poetry, the way the past is being framed, its traditions, celebrities and enigmas washed up in new and hybrid appearances or redressed in more conventional, sometimes nimbus forms. Judith Wright wrote that the ‘place to find clues is not in the present, it lies in the past: a shallow past, as all immigrants to Australia know, and all of us are immigrants.’ The discipline of reading to filter such a range of voices underlines my foreignness, making reading akin to translation, whilst reciprocally inviting the reader of this essay to become a foreigner to my assumptions and conclusions.' (Introduction)