The first of this issue’s two stories is by dual Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott, author of novels That Deadman Dance, Benang and True Country, and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project. Kim is paired with emerging writer Liz Hayden, currently a PhD creative writing candidate, whose work investigates the life of a Nyoongar woman’s experience living and growing up in a rural town in Western Australia
Kim Scott’s story, entitled ‘Departure’, introduces a vulnerable teenage girl, Tilly, on her way home from private boarding school to the southern camp that is her home:
Central Bus Station was built upon the principle of a large shed and, except for the large windows on one wall, barely disguised as such. Inside, a vast grey plain of concrete was enlivened not only by the dancing dust motes and large, sparkling rectangles of sunlight on the floor, but also by firmly anchored patterns of bright plastic chairs. A schoolgirl entered the building and, veering widely around the chairs, paused at a vending machine. The machine accepted her money, gave nothing in return.
The woman behind a pane of glass marked Enquiries looked away. She touched her stiff hair, pursed her bright lips and tapped the keyboard before her. The skin at her cheekbones seemed to be flaking away.
Liz Hayden’s ‘Our Warrior, Our Brother’ shows the tragedy of one young man’s death rippling through a family and a community:
Rich is a quiet family man, a country boy who spent most of his life in the country. Going to school, playing with family and friends, growing up, having girlfriends, falling in love with Flo (who he later married) made up the fabric of Richard’s life.
He was a hardworking man, taking on his first job as a thirteen-year-old, helping his dad and brother Olman in the shearing shed. Shearing was a way of life for the family and when shearing season came round, they would follow the contracted shearing sheds from local farmers. On marrying his sweetheart Flo, children came into their lives. Two girls were born to Rich and Flo, and a boy by Traditional Nyoongar Adoption, ie, placing of a baby boy into the arms of a chosen family. In this case, our first cousin placed little Brad into the arms of Rich and his wife, giving up her rights as a mother.
RAF publishes two stories every two weeks, delivered in mobi (for Kindle) or ePub (for iPhone/iPad, Kobo, Nook, Readmill) format. Individual issues of RAF are $2.99. A subscription for six issues is $12.99.