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Magabala Books is excited to announce our first title for 2016, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, the debut poetry collection from 2015 black&write! fellowship winner, Alison Whittaker.
A remarkable new voice in Indigenous writing, Alison is a Gomeroi experimental poet, essayist and life writer from NSW’s floodplain fringe who writes on Aboriginal womanhood, life at the margins, violence, pleasure and power. She currently lives in Sydney on Wangal land, where she is completing a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology Sydney. Her work has been published in Meanjin, Vertigo and Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives.
Written over four years, Lemons in the Chicken Wire was inspired by fragments of Alison’s own life, though Alison says she didn’t realise she was writing a book until it all came together. “There was no original idea, so to speak. It just kind of flourished,” she said. “I still don’t know what it is about. Each time I read it, I read something else into it.”
An audacious and powerful collection about family, displacement and love, Lemons in the Chicken Wire bristles with stunning imagery and gritty textures and delivers a collage of work that reflects rural identity through a rich medley of techniques and forms.
“It traces the life stories of many queer Aboriginal women, including my own, who live on the rural fringe, but it represents more than a ‘clash’ of worlds,” says Alison. “It embeds queerness deeply into Aboriginality, rather than in opposition to it, and explores the viscera of queer Aboriginal girlhood and womanhood.”
At just 22, Alison is an incredible talent and “force to be reckoned with” who is destined to make her presence known on Australia’s literary scene. Magabala Books is honoured to be publishing her first collection and truly proud to be part of her journey.
More from Alison below: