Finding a Place in Story: Kim Scott’s writing and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

Natalie Quinlivan

Abstract


In True Country, the narrator draws the reader close and says, “You listen to me. We’re gunna make a story, true story. You might find it’s here you belong. A place like this.” (15) Although the narrator speaks of ‘(a) place like this’ as “a beautiful place (…). Call it our country, our country all ‘round here” (15), belonging, for the reader, for the characters in each of Scott’s novels, and for Scott himself, is more than settling into a physical environment, belonging is finding a place in the story.

Mamang, Noongar Mambara Bakitj, Dwoort Baal Kaat, and Yira Boornak Nyininy are major achievements in Scott and The Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project’s process of returning, restoring and rejuvenating language and story within the Noongar community and for an ever-widening public. In their form, content and intent, the stories renegotiate ideas of place and placement, confronting personal, cultural and linguistic dislocations in Noongar lives as well as an ambivalent narrative landscape in which language and story are central to both a lingering colonialism and the process of decolonisation.

Keywords


Kim Scott; Noongar; decolonisation; narrative relationships; The Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

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