Ruby Journeys to ‘My Place’

24 / 02 / 2015

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This month in Culture Club, clinic Ruby Bell has written about her ambition to read literature by a wider demographic of authors, specifically women of colour, who are often underrepresented as successful writers. Here she discovers the 1987 autobiography by Sally Morgan titled ‘My Place.’ Morgan’s book is considered a milestone in Aboriginal literature and is one of the earlier works in Indigenous writing.

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The race, sex or nationality of the authors I read didn’t really factor into my mind until recently. I have been a voracious reader since childhood. I have also held feminist beliefs for most of my life. It was only in 2013 when I examined my list of books I’d read that year, that I was unimpressed to discover the vast majority of them had been written by men, and I decided I needed to make an active effort to read more books by women.

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I can proudly say that I accomplished that in 2014, with over half of the books I read being written by women. My reading list for 2014 was longer and much more diverse than the one from 2013, and I think the books I read that year were a lot more memorable than the ones from 2013. That isn’t to say that men can’t write – of course they can – but when I decided to make a conscious effort to read more books by women, I naturally paid more attention to what I was reading and who had written it.

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My 2014 list wasn’t perfect. As I admired the amount of women on the list, I decided to see how many books people of colour authored. My efforts in that area were abysmal, having read only four out of thirty books in 2014 written by people of colour. So, in 2015 I’ve made it my goal to increase the number of books read by authors of colour. So far, I have only read books written by women, with all but one being women of colour. One such book is My Place, which in my opinion highlights the importance of reading literature from authors of different backgrounds.

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Sally Morgan’s My Place was published in 1987 and is regarded as a milestone in Aboriginal Australian literature. The book follows Sally Morgan from early childhood to her mid thirties, as well as incorporating biographies of her great-uncle, mother and grandmother.

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Born in Perth in 1951, Sally was the oldest of five children born to Bill, an Anglo-Australian plumber and war veteran; and Gladys, who told her children that she was Indian. Gladys’s mother, Daisy, also lived with the family. The book opens with Sally and her family visiting Bill in hospital, where he was being treated for severe posttraumatic stress disorder.  Bill dies when Sally is still a child, leaving Gladys and Daisy to take care of the children. At the age of fifteen, Sally discovers that Gladys is not Indian but is in fact Aboriginal. It is here that the book turns from being a standard autobiography to a narrative spanning generations.

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Reading My Place was an emotionally intense experience. The book is wonderfully written – Morgan’s conversational writing leads to a very intimate feel. The book also spoke of abhorrent things that happened in Australia, such as the stolen generation, Aboriginal people doing years of unpaid labour, and racism. When I finished reading it I was so moved that for days it was impossible to pick up another book because My Place was weighing so heavily on my mind.

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ورد على ورد My Place is not only an exquisite book but one of cultural and historical significance for Australia. My Place was not the first book published by an Aboriginal person – that honour goes to 1964’s We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. However, it is one of the few well-known pieces of literature written by an Aboriginal Australian. Most written accounts of Australian culture and history are written with white people as the protagonists, with Aboriginal people as outsiders. My Place allowed Morgan as an Aboriginal woman to tell her own story on her own terms.

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Köp Viagra Kalmar Since I decided to write this piece I discovered by chance that I’m not the only person to undertake such a reading challenge. Authors such as Sunili Govinnage and Lilit Marcus have both written about their experiences, with both arguing that only reading books by women or people of colour allowed them new perspectives on the world.

opcje binarne polscy brokerzy The literature market is saturated with white men like the majority of successful industries in the world. I encourage everybody to examine what they read and who wrote it. The outcome might surprise you – it certainly surprised me. Making an effort to read books by women or people of colour – especially women of colour – does not narrow your reading experience, but rather enriches it. Already, so early in the year I have read some truly wonderful books which I am ashamed to say I might not have heard of had I not set myself this goal.

testosteron undecanoat Here are a number of other books from my reading year that I recommend:

  • – Wild Swans by Jung Chang
  • – Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • – The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • – The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
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