Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann has won the 2017 Windham-Campbell award for poetry. She has said that the prize money, which totals A$215,000, is ‘going to change my life completely’.
Of Eckermann, the Windham-Campbell Prize website states:
‘Through song and story, Ali Cobby Eckermann confronts the violent history of Australia’s Stolen Generations and gives language to unspoken lineages of trauma and loss. […] She has produced a substantial and formally innovative body of work, including the award-winning 2015 collection Inside My Mother. Eckermann has described Inside My Mother as an “emotional timeline” of the Stolen Generations, the thousands of children of indigenous descent—among them Eckermann herself, as well as her mother and son—taken from their families by the Australian government.’
The award was started in 2013 by David Windham after the death of his lifelong partner Sandy Campbell in 1988. This year there were eight recipients.
To learn more about Inside My Mother and Ali Cobby Eckermann, visit the Giramondo website.
I was 34 when I finally found my mother. Four years later my son was returned to me (he was 18). My family taught us culture and I healed through poetry. An award of this magnitude will continue the healing for many of us.