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Alexis Wright FAHA (born 25 November 1950) is a Waanyi (Aboriginal Australian) writer. As of 2023, Wright has produced four novels, one biography, and several works of prose. Her work also appears in anthologies and journals.
- it was exactly like what the old law people had always said would happen if you look after country, country will look after you.
- Praiseworthy (2023)
- [Aboriginal Sovereignty] had become tied into the chosen shame of a continent stolen from his people by a pack of racists, who had turned the argument against the people whose land they had stolen, and whose intergenerational lives have never recovered from so great a loss.
- Praiseworthy quoted in interview (2023)
- Her mind was only a lonely mansion for the stories of extinction.
- The Swan Book (2013)
- People tell stories all the time: the stories they want told, where any story could be changed or warped this way or that.
- The Swan Book (2013)
- Like autumn leaves, bad days fell away as though the genius of the room could not retain them.
- Carpentaria (2006)
- I have felt very privileged to know and to have been able to work with many senior Aboriginal people of great wisdom and intellect. I could name many Aboriginal people right across Australia who have influenced my thinking in a lifelong journey of trying to understand how to see, feel and understand our world, and fight for it. Their perspective and worldview is huge and cosmopolitan in its outlook. Our world is one that teaches the benefits of having eyes wide open, to be attuned to a spiritual understanding of the environment and self-knowledge, and this leads to having an ability to maintain and build internal worlds of visualization and exploration, to hold a vision. Perhaps this helped me to create a novel such as ‘The Swan Book’.
- I think that it is amazing to have a culture where stories were treasured over countless millenniums, and kept sacred to this day. It is a unique undertaking to have a governing system that was built to ensure the sustainability of the country, and built on the idea of preserving peace and cooperation between people. When you look at it in this way, this was a far more sophisticated form of culture than ones that seek to colonise others or create wars. These laws and spiritual ideas about country are known and understood by every Aboriginal person, and I think because there is such emphasis on stories, storytelling is almost second nature to most Aboriginal people.
- (what is one thing that you want people to take away from The Swan Book?) AW: Just to be kind to the world – it is the only one we have, and to be kinder to each other and to see the beauty and genius in all our cultures, and to see the beauty and right to exist and thrive of the creatures sharing this planet with us. The Swan Book asks for respect and the need to gain greater knowledge and respect for the responsibilities that Indigenous peoples have for the good stewardship of the world.
- It’s a really important thing for Aboriginal people to remember how stories are told and the power of stories, and make it an important feature in our world again.
- English is my language because of the history and what I try to do, and I did that in Carpentaria in particular, is to write in the way we tell stories and in the voice of our own people and our own way of speaking
- Truly all it is is commitment, belief and dedication to the task and understanding in yourself that you will do it, even if it seems unbelievable at the time.
- advice for writers
- We have to think big...'We have to imagine big, and that's part of the problem. We're letting other people imagine and lead us down what paths they want to take us. Sometimes they're very limited in the way their ideas are constructed. We need to imagine much more broadly. That's the work of a writer, and more writers should look at it.
- No matter what happens to you, you can maintain your own control about what you believe and who you are.
- I've seen that harshness in policies handed out to Aboriginal people over decades, and it doesn't seem to get any better. That's how the politics are played out: not doing the best you can do for someone, but working out how you can beat your opponent. So the swans are a different way of pausing and reflecting on what's happening in the world, and doing it in a light way.
- We've got a beautiful country, a beautiful world, why not enjoy it?