Last week, a bunch of bookish people gathered at Better Read Than Dead in Newtown to listen to two intellectual, literary souls talk about writing, PhD’s, research and the newly released novel, Paris Savages.
Author Katherine Johnson was in conversation with Evelyn Araluen, Indigenous poet and writer, to discuss the themes that grace the pages of her latest work – the little known story of three Badtjala people from Fraser Island who travelled to Europe as part of ethnographic exhibitions.
After disclaiming that she would still have to ask “the question everyone has been asking” (why, as a non-Indigenous writer, did Katherine feel the need to write a book about Indigenous history), Evelyn and Katherine dived into the conversation. They explored Katherine’s need to write this story that no one else had written; her clever use of literary devices that aid, but do not presume to know, the Indigenous perspective; the many years of travel and research that went into the novel’s creation (six, to be precise); her inspirations for the idea (ABC’s AWAYE!); and the challenges of embarking on such a huge feat of writing.
The room buzzed at question time as Djon Mundane, Indigenous speaker, artist and curator, discussed with Katherine the need for such literature and the challenges of working in the Indigenous space.
What is Katherine working on next? She doesn’t yet know herself. Following an intense author tour and a much-needed break, we’re sure Katherine will be working on something equally as fascinating (although we hope the next one won’t be six years away). Watch this space!
Thanks to Better Read Than Dead, Evelyn, and all those who attended.