KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

2014 columns, Young Adult literature

Magabala Books and the importance of Indigenous YA literature

by Danielle Binks , April 22, 2014Leave a comment

Magabala Books

 

In 2012 I wrote my first column for Kill Your Darlings: ‘You are not alone: Why we need more Indigenous writers and characters in Australian YA.’

Two years later and it’s still mainly specialist and independent publishers representing Indigenous authors and characters. But if you do want to read Aussie young adult (YA) books in which these characters and authors are celebrated and given voice, look to Magabala Books.

Magabala is Australia’s leading independent Indigenous publishing house based in Broome, Western Australia. An independent Aboriginal Corporation since 1990, Magabala’s objective is, ‘restoring, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.’

I recently spoke with Margaret Whiskin – Magabala Books’ publisher – about diversity, good story and what’s in store for Magabala in 2014.

Do you think reading attitudes are shifting, where Indigenous youth literature is concerned?

I like to think that attitudes are shifting — that young people are coming from an education system/media where there is at least an opportunity to learn about our First Peoples.

And of course there are many great Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers coming through.  It’s important in YA that readers can relate to the stories and of course, Indigenous authors writing about Indigenous lives has authenticity and this is something that young readers are looking for in their stories — and they have very strong fake detectors. This goes doubly for Indigenous readers. I believe not just young readers but all readers are hungry for Indigenous stories, they are hungry to learn about their past and forge a new identity for Australia that includes our First Peoples.

Our partnership with the State Library of Queensland has given us some great authors as well.

What stories need telling, particularly to younger generations of Australians?

The first thing we look for is a good story. Something that will engage the reader and something the author is passionate about. Obviously coming of age stories are popular in YA, but if you look at Bruce Pascoe’s Fog a Dox, which won the Prime Minister’s Prize for YA Literature last year, this is a gentle, celebration of nature, friendship and courage — and our love of animals.

What sort of process do your books go through before they hit shelves – do Aboriginal leaders read and make comments on manuscripts?

Each book is read by the editorial committee and then, depending on the type of book is it, if we feel it has potential we may go straight to contract or we may send it out to a specialist reader. If it contains cultural information we send it to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander reader — of course traditional stories need the permission of the community from which they come, not simply the person telling them.

What can you tell me about the childrens and YA titles that Magabala is releasing in 2014?

The two 2013 black&write! winners were published in April.

Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas is a funny, moving and beautifully told coming-of-age story. Calypso, a young Nukunu man in Rasta guise, is fresh out of high school with nowhere to go. His mother points him in the direction of his traditional family in southern Flinders Ranges and, with the support of a sassy, smart Ngadjuri girl, he discovers that his people, their land and his culture are the perfect medicine.

Rift Breaker by Tristan Savage is a fantastic, sci-fi action adventure driven by distinctive characters, and explores themes of alienation, identity and independence. A great read!

Learn more about Magabala Books by visiting www.magabala.com

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based blogger, editor and aspiring writer of young adult fiction.

ACO logo




lead_960

James Tierney

I Call The Shots: The provocation of violent women

In a Western culture increasingly stripped of its old taboos, violent acts by women – real and imagined – still possess the genuine power to shock. Cultural representations of violent women can both affirm and react against the kind of pernicious questioning that posits women as fundamentally, and fatally, reactive. Read more »

9781925106510

Oliver Mol

July First Book Club: Read an excerpt from Oliver Mol’s Lion Attack!

At the Kill Your Darlings First Book Club event in July, Oliver Mol will discuss his debut memoir, Lion Attack!. Read an extract from this funny, energetic and original coming-of-age story, which interweaves stories from Oliver’s childhood in Texas and his young adulthood in Melbourne. Read more »

9781743318539

Danielle Binks

#LoveOzYA

Lest we forget that before John Green, Australia had John Marsden, prior to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter we had Isobelle Carmody’s Elspeth Gordie, and we embraced Melina Marchetta as the voice of a generation long before Sarah Dessen. Read more »

abortion

Rebecca Shaw

Choice Without Stigma: Dismantling the abortion taboo

Abortion is still illegal in the criminal code in Queensland – even in this, the Year of Our Beyoncé 2015. While women are unlikely to face practical obstacles to abortion due to the law, it can still cause isolation and unnecessary fear, and creates a stigma around the act. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

clouds-of-sila-maria-1

Rebecca Shaw

The curse of the ‘gal pals’

As a well-known humourless, angry, hairy arm-pitted, feminist lesbian, I encounter daily issues that I can place on a scale from things that mildly irritate me all the way to things that completely offend me. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

tom-cruise-jack-reacher-premiere-postponed

Chris Somerville

A lit match in a box of wet dynamite: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

I first watched Jack Reacher a few years ago, in a spate of insomnia. The plot is a confused mess, both needlessly intricate and incredibly simple. I’m not going to go into it, mainly because I don’t actually know why the people in this movie do anything. Read more »

Partisan

Joanna Di Mattia

To experience the world with blinkers on: Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan

Partisan beautifully evokes that complex space between childhood and adulthood, when we start to question the worldview we have inherited – when we begin to see the world through our own eyes. It is both a coming-of-age story, and an innocence-coming-undone story. Read more »

3ab01d05-2590-4aa4-80f4-45fab0eccec4-2060x1236

Anwen Crawford

Heart of Darkness: UnREAL‘s ruthless reality

Everlasting, the show-within-a-show at the dark centre of new American television series UnREAL, is a fantasy blend of champagne cocktails, pool parties and true love. Everlasting is a Bachelor-style game show in which a dozen immaculately groomed women compete for a handsome millionaire husband, and its relationship to real life is, like any ‘reality’ show, non-existent. Nothing goes to air on Everlasting that has not been scripted, staged, and edited for maximum controversy. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

OITNB2

Anwen Crawford

Still in Prison: The limitations of Orange is the New Black

No, I haven’t binge-watched the entire new season of Orange Is The New Black in one sleepless, bleary-eyed frenzy. This season, the show’s third, doesn’t lend itself to that kind of viewing. The pace is slower, the cliff-hangers missing. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

2015GISELLE_Artists of The Australian Ballet. PhotoJeffBusby

Jane Howard

The Beautiful and the Dated: Australian Ballet’s Giselle

The weight of history sits heavily on the Australian Ballet’s Giselle. One of the most enduringly popular ballets from the romantic period, there is much to delight in its presence on stage and its lasting lineage. But 175 years after its debut, in a production that premiered 30 years ago, the sheen of Giselle has been dulled. Read more »

CrawlMeBlood_20150607_261_LoRes copy

Jane Howard

Adhocracy: Lifting the curtain on the creative process

Every June long weekend I wrap myself up in several extra layers and make my way to the Waterside Worker’s Hall in Port Adelaide for Adhocracy, Vitalstatistix’s annual hothouse that brings together artists from around the country for a weekend of creative development. Read more »

Orlando #2 - THE RABBLE

Jane Howard

This Is a Story of Artistic Excellence

This is a story of the first four plays I saw at Malthouse Theatre. It’s a story that can only continue as long as support for independent artists continues; it’s a story that can only keep growing as long as support for independent artists grows. It’s a story of where artistic excellence comes from, and how we get to see it on our main stages. Read more »