photograph: Jonno Revanche

Recorded live 13 August 2018 at The Wheeler Centre, this event was presented by the Melbourne Visiting Poets Program 2018, in partnership with Australian Poetry, Melbourne Spoken Word and the RMIT non/fictionLab.

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, life writer and essayist from Gunnedah and Tamworth, north-western New South Wales. She now lives in Sydney on Wangal land, and is recently returned from the US, where she received a 2017 Fulbright Indigenous Postgraduate Scholarship to complete a Master of Laws (LLM) at Harvard. Her poem MANY GIRLS WHITE LINEN received the Judith Wright Poetry Prize in 2017. She is the author of Lemons in the Chicken Wire (Magabala Books), the debut collection that established her as a powerful new voice in poetry.

Her new book, Blakwork (Magabala), is a stunning mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire and critique. Blakwork is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge: an incomprehensible loss, and the poet’s fearless examination of the present.

Listen here to Alison and special guests Laniyuk (Larrakia/Kungarrakan/Gurindji), Serena Rae (Mamu Waribarra), and Indiah Money (Wiradjuri). Their performance was followed by a discussion between Alison and Ellen Van Neerven about the new book.

Thanks to Prithvi Varatharajan for sound editing this recording.