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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 held the position of Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne between 2017–2022. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker). Her third novel, Praiseworthy, will be published by Giramondo in April 2023.


Events

13 April 2023: Readings – Alexis Wright in conversation with Ivor Indyk (VIC)

27 April 2023: Sorrento Writers Festival – Alexis Wright at Montalto (VIC)

11 May 2023: Brisbane Writers Festival – Alexis Wright on Praiseworthy (QLD)

14 May 2023: Brisbane Writers Festival – Closing Address (QLD)

23 May 2023: Sydney Writers’ Festival – Opening Night (NSW)

27 May 2023: Sydney Writers’ Festival – In conversation with Sisonke Msimang (NSW)

Titles

The Swan Book (new edition)

Alexis Wright

352 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published May 2023
ISBN 9781922725431

Originally published in 2013, Alexis Wright’s classic novel The Swan Book is rereleased in a new edition designed by Jenny Grigg. The book accompanies the April 2023 release of Praiseworthy, Wright’s first work of fiction since 2014, and the simultaneous rerelease of Carpentaria.

Carpentaria (new edition)

Alexis Wright

528 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published May 2023
ISBN 9781922725400

One of the classics of Australian literature, Alexis Wright’s Miles Franklin award-winning novel is being rereleased in a new edition designed by Jenny Grigg. The book accompanies the April release of Praiseworthy, Wright’s first work of fiction since 2014, and the simultaneous rerelease of The Swan Book.

Praiseworthy

Alexis Wright

736 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published April 2023
ISBN 9781922725325

Praiseworthy is an epic set in the north of Australia, told with the richness of language and scale of imagery for which Alexis Wright has become renowned.

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 9781920882310

Carpentaria is an epic of the Gulf country of north-western Queensland. Its 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 2007 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, politics and farce.

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

Awards

Stella Prize 2018

Magarey Medal 2018

Queensland Literary Award for Non-fiction 2018

Australian Literature Society Gold Medal 2014

Kate Challis RAKA Award 2016

Miles Franklin Literary Award 2007

ALS Gold Medal 2007

Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, Fiction Book Prize 2007

Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction 2007

Selected Writing

‘Embracing the Indigenous Vision’ Meanjin, 2006

‘The Inward Migration of Apocalyptic Times’ Emergence Magazine, October 2022

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

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

‘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), 2018

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

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

‘Deep Weather’ Meanjin, Winter 2011

Criticism

Lynda Ng (editior), Indigenous Transnationalism: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria, Giramondo Publishing 2018.

Anne Brewster, ‘Indigenous Sovereignty and the Crisis of Whiteness in Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria’, Australian Literary Studies Vol. 25 No. 4, 1 November 2010.

Meera Atkinson, ‘Alexis Wright’s Literary Testimony to Intersecting Traumas’, Animal Studies Journal, 7(1), 2018, 41-58.

Francis Devlin-Glass, ‘Review Essay: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria’, Antipodes: a North American Journal of Australian Literature, June 2007.

Interviews

The Garret Interviewed by Nic Brasch (2018)

Sydney Writers’ Festival Interviewed by Geordie Williamson on Tracker (2018)

ABC RN The Book Club – The Writer’s Room Wright discusses her writing space and processes (2015)

The Guardian Interviewed by Maryam Azam on The Swan Book (2014)

The Stella Prize Interviewed by the Prize (2014)

The Wheeler Centre Interviewed by Sophie Cunningham on The Swan Book (2013)

Sydney Morning Herald Interviewed by Jane Sullivan on The Swan Book (2013)

Overland Interviewed by Arnold Zable (2013)

The New York Times Interviewed by Jane Perlez on Carpentaria (2007)