Cambria Press Publication: Giving this Country a Memory – Featured Author: Doris Pilkington Garimara

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Doris Pilkington Garimara is one of the featured authors in the Cambria Press publication, Giving This Country a Memory, by Anne Brewster

Doris Pilkington Garimara (1937–2014) was from the Martu people of the Western Desert. She published a trilogy, Caprice, A Stockman’s Daughter, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, and Under the Wintamarra Tree). Caprice won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and the David Unaipon Award. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was adapted as a film in 2002, The Rabbit Proof Fence, directed by Philip Noyce. The book has been translated into at least eight languages (Chinese, German, French, Swedish, Korean, Turkish, Japanese, and Dutch), and Pilkington’s Home to Mother has been adapted as a children’s book. Doris Pilkington Garimara was appointed copatron of the Australian Sorry Day’s Committee’s Journey of Healing in 2002. She won the Australia Council Red Ochre Award (2008) and the Order of Australia for services to the arts (2006).

Excerpt from Cambria Press Publication
Giving This Country a Memory (Chapter 7: Doris Pilkington Garimara )

“Pilkington Garimara used memory to convey the truth of an occluded Aboriginal history, a history that had been inaccessible both to her as an indigenous individual and to various local, national, and global publics. She undertakes the project of remediating memory as literature in a quest for both personal and collective healing. She imagines collective healing in numerous contexts—that of indigenous people, particularly indigenous women—but also in a cross-racial context […] She aimed to counter the effects of the “indoctrination” by the state and the church (which she experienced during her periods as an “inmate” in the Moore River Native Settlement and the Roelands Mission) which eradicated much of her own memory and instilled in her a sense of shame, fear, and suspicion of traditional Aboriginal culture and people. She describes her return to her family at the age of forty-five as “traumatic”. The living conditions, the language, traditional cultural practices, and the blackness of people (such as her father) were somewhat horrifying to her; and it took her ten years to “undo this conditioning” and come to accept and embrace these aspects of her family.” (p. 245)

Giving This Country A Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia by Anne Brewster is part of the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Susan Lever.

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