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Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published three works of non-fiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth. Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. She was recently named the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).

Titles

Tracker

Alexis Wright

640 pages
Paperback, 23.5 x 15.3 cm
Published November 2017
ISBN 9781925336337

Alexis Wright returns to non-fiction in her new book, a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth, who died in Darwin in 2015. Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission, Tilmouth worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council of the Northern Territory. He was a visionary, a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his anecdotes. Composed by Wright from interviews with Tracker Tilmouth, and with his family, friends and colleagues, this memoir weaves stories together in a book that is a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life.

The Swan Book

Alexis Wright

352 pages
Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm
Published August 2013
ISBN 9781922146830

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginal people still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute young woman called Oblivia, the victim of gang rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the energy and humour in her writing, which draws freely on myth and legend, finds hope in the bleakest situations.

Carpentaria

Alexis Wright

520 pages
Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm
Published August 2006
ISBN 1920882170

Carpentaria is Alexis Wright’s second novel, an epic set in the Gulf country of north-western Queensland, from where her people come. The novel’s portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight’s renegade Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright’s storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, farce and politics. The novel teems with extraordinary characters – above all, the queen of the rubbish-dump Angel Day and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish- embalming king of time – figures that stride like giants across this storm-swept world.

Videos

‘Alexis Wright on censorship and telling the untold stories’ – State Library of Victoria

‘Alexis Wright at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2014’ – interviewed by Geordie Williamson on The Swan Book

‘Alexis Wright in conversation with Ivor Indyk’ – The Writing and Society Research Centre, 2018

‘The Stella Prize in conversation’ – Emily Bitto, Clare Wright, and hosted by Toni Jordan

Alexis Wright reads ‘What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story?’

About Alexis Wright

AustLit: Alexis Wright

Selected Writing

‘The Ancient Library and a Self-Governing Literature’ Sydney Review of Books, 28 June 2019

‘What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story?’ Meanjin, Summer 2016

‘A Journey in Writing Place’ Meanjin, Winter 2019

‘The Power and Purpose of Literature’ Meanjin, Summer 2018 (Boisbouvier Oration)

‘Hey ancestor!’Griffith Review 60: First Things First. (poetry)

‘In times like these, what would Oodgeroo do?’ The Monthly, December 2020

‘Deep Weather’ Meanjin, Winter 2011

‘Telling the Untold Stories’ Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture, 3 December 2018

Interviews

The Garret: Alexis Wright Interviewed by Nic Brasch

‘Alexis Wright: The Swan Book’ The Wheeler Centre, interviewed by Sophie Cunningham

The Book Club: The Writers Room Alexis Wright discussing her writing space and processes, accompanied by images and short video clips

‘The Future of Swans’ Overland, interviewed by Arnold Zable

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