A wave of life stories and autobiographical narratives by Aboriginal women began in the late 1970s and gained momentum a decade later with the publication of Sally Morgan’s My Place (1987), which became a bestseller. While some of the books of the first wave focused mainly (if not exclusively) on the author, Aboriginal women’s life stories widened over time to include transgenerational histories of the family.
Reading Aboriginal Women’s Life Stories is an important discussion of books that have shaped our understanding of contemporary Indigenous Australian literature. Anne Brewster provides an in-depth textual analysis of three key titles and situates them in relation to concepts of history, race, gender, family, storytelling and Aboriginality in modern Australia.
“Looking back, we can recognise now what an extraordinary phenomenon these life stories are, and how they have changed understandings of Aboriginality and writing … The return of this classic book in a new edition is a welcome reminder that Anne Brewster’s careful, deeply respectful and informed approach to these writings is as necessary now as it ever was.”
— Professor Gillian Whitlock FAHA
Anne Brewster is associate professor at the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. Her publication and research interests include Aboriginal literatures, fictocriticism and explorative methodologies, American language writing, and Singaporean and Malaysian literatures in English.