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Kim Scott - book author

Born in 1957, Kim Scott's ancestral Noongar country is the south-east coast of Western Australia between Gairdner River and Cape Arid. His cultural Elders use the term Wirlomin to refer to their clan, and the Norman Tindale nomenclature identifies people of this area as Wudjari/Koreng.

His novel Taboo won the Victorian premier’s literary award for Indigenous writing in 2019.

His other novels include True Country and Benang. He also writes poetry and short fiction. His professional background is in education and the arts.

Kim Scott is the author of books: That Deadman Dance, Taboo, Benang: From the Heart, True Country, The Best Australian Stories 2013, Kayang & Me, Noongar Mambara Bakitj, Mamang, Dwoort Baal Kaat, The Dredgersaurus

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Author Books

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01
Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

But slowly – by design and by accident – things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...
02
From the two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Award

From Kim Scott, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, comes a work charged with ambition and poetry, in equal parts brutal, mysterious and idealistic, about a young woman cast into a drama that has been playing for over two hundred years ...

Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar's descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded. He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife's dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations.

But the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.

We walk with the ragtag group through this taboo country and note in them glimmers of re-connection with language, lore, country. We learn alongside them how countless generations of Noongar may have lived in ideal rapport with the land. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.

LONGLISTED FOR THE MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD 2018
LONGLISTED FOR THE ABIA LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018
LONGLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARDS FICTION 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARD FOR FICTION 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COLIN RODERICK AWARD 2018

PRAISE FOR TABOO

"If Benang was the great novel of the assimilation system, and That Deadman Dance redefined the frontier novel in Australian writing, Taboo makes a strong case to be the novel that will help clarify - in the way that only literature can - what reconciliation might mean" Australian Book Review

"Scott's book is stunning - haunted and powerful ... Verdict: Must Read" Herald Sun

"Remarkable" Stephen Romei, Weekend Australian

"Stunning prose" Saturday Paper

"This is a complex, thoughtful, and exceptionally generous offering by a master storyteller at the top of his game" The Guardian

"Undaunted, and daring as ever Scott goes back to his ancestral Noongar country in Western Australia's Great Southern region; back in time as well to killings (or a massacre, the point is contested) of whites and Aborigines there in 1880. . . Taboo never becomes a revenge story, whether for distant or recent wrongs . . . The politics of Taboo - not to presume or simplify too much - are quietist, rather than radical. Ambitious, unsentimental [and] morally challenging" Sydney Morning Herald

"Scott is one of the most thoughtful, exciting and powerful storytellers of this continent today, with great courage and formidable narrative prowess- and Taboo is his most daring novel yet" Sydney Review of Books
03
Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, this intriguing journey is a celebration and lament—of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing, and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilized from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.
05
‘A story can lure us into gaps and spaces that feel sacred in their silence.’ - Kim Scott

In The Best Australian Stories 2013, Kim Scott assembles the most exceptional short fiction of the last year and invites readers to build ‘a rare and intimate relationship’ with these talented writers, one that is ‘essential to storytelling in print, whether on paper or screen.’

These stories conjure disparate moods, from delight to melancholy. A family Christmas lays bare a relationship grown cold. A father pursues the art of the birdcall in an effort to speak his son’s language. A cat becomes a conduit for a neighbour’s true feelings while Brisbane floods. Striking new voices blend seamlessly with those of celebrated storytellers to form a collection that will leave an indelible impression long after the last word is read.

Kalinda Ashton • Tony Birch • Georgia Blain • James Bradley • Tara Cartland • Eric Yoshiaki Dando • Liam Davison • Tegan Bennett Daylight • Madeleine Griffeth • Marion Halligan • Ashley Hay • Cate Kennedy • John Kinsella • Andy Kissane • Theresa Layton • Wayne Macauley • Robyn Mundy • Ruby J. Murray • Ryan O’Neill • Favel Parrett • Bruce Pascoe • Sinead Roarty • Chris Somerville • Laurie Steed • Lucy Treloar
06
Novelist Kim Scott and his elder, Hazel Brown, have created a family history of the Wilomin Noongar people. Kayang & Me is a story of community and belonging, revealing the deep and enduring connections between family, country, culture and history that lie at the heart of Indigenous identity.
07
A young man follows a kangaroo track deep into the old people’s country. Along the way he meets some spirit creatures (‘mambara’) who allow him to go on. But after he has hunted down the kangaroo, one mambara is angry and demands a fight (‘bakitj’). All day they fight, until the Noongar discovers he is a magic person and defeats the mambara.
This book is inspired by a story Bob Roberts told the linguist Gerhardt Laves at Albany, Western Australia, around 1931. It has been workshopped in a series of community meetings, which included some contemporary family of both those men.
08
A brave young man travels the seas in the abdomen of a large whale ('mamang'). The man squeezes the heart of the whale and the old song he sings spurs the whale on to take him on a very special journey. The whale transports him far west of his home country, where his life is changed forever. *** Mamang - presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text - captures the deep spiritual connection of people with the sea. The book is inspired by an Aboriginal creation story that emphasizes the courage and confidence of the Noongar protagonist. It shows aspects of an Indigenous heritage and the long relationship of that culture with its natural environment from the south coast of Western Australia. The story was passed down orally for generations among the Noongar people. Around 1931, it was told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves, who created the first written record of the story. Following Laves' death in the 1980s, his family discovered the documented story in its written form, which was then returned to the Noongar people. The book was developed as part of an Indigenous language recovery project led by author Kim Scott and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project. The text has been carefully reworked by descendants of the original Noongar storytellers. Aboriginal artists have created beautiful and delightfully stunning illustrations to accompany the testimonial story.
09
Koora, Noongar keny dwoort boolarang. Baalang Ngoonang dwoort. Baal djerabiny dwoortang daatjak ngardanginy. / One day a long time ago, one of our people went hunting. He had his own as well as his brother's dogs and he thought with so much help he'd easily catch a lot of tucker. / A man goes hunting for some tucker with a pack of dogs, but he doesn't get what he expected.... Presented bilingually in English and Aboriginal Noongar language text, Dwoort Baal Kaat is an Indigenous Australian story of how two different animals are related to one another. *** Dwoort Baal Kaat came from the wise and ancient language of the First People of the Western Australian south coast - the Noongar people. Inspired by a story told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves around 1931, Dwoort Baal Kaat has been workshopped in a series of community meetings as a part of the "Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project" to revitalize an endangered language. This story is written in old Noongar, along with a literal English translation, as well as English prose styled by Kim Scott.
10
A series of unexpected events occur when a dredgersaurus gets loose on the beach in this delightfully illustrated holiday adventure.