Winner of the 2011 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing
Growing up on the Mission isn't easy for clever Grace Oldman. When her classmates tease her for not having a father, she doesn't know what to say. Pappa Neddy says her dad is the Lord God in Heaven, but that doesn't help when the Mission kids call her a bastard. As Grace slowly pieces together clues that might lead to answers, she struggles to find a place in a community that rejects her for reasons she doesn't understand.
In Mazin Grace, Dylan Coleman fictionalises her mother's childhood at the Koonibba Lutheran Mission in South Australia in the 1940s and 50s. Woven through the narrative are the powerful, rhythmic sounds of Aboriginal English and Kokatha language.
Mazin Grace is the inspirational story of a feisty girl who refuses to be told who she is, determined to uncover the truth for herself.
About the Author
Dylan Coleman is a Kokatha-Greek woman who grew up in Thevenard, on the far west coast of South Australia. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Adelaide, where she teaches Indigenous health, and her short stories have been published in Southerly and various anthologies. For over twenty years Dylan has worked across Aboriginal education, health, land rights, and the Arts, with a focus on Aboriginal community engagement and social justice. Dylan lives on the outskirts of Adelaide with her partner and son.
Winner of the 2011 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing, this is a remarkable novel. Based on the author’s mother’s recollections of growing up on a South Australian Lutheran Mission in the 1940s and 50s, it is in turn heart-wrenching, amusing, tragic and resilient. Some may find it a challenge to read, peppered as it is with many Indigenous words and phrasing. The author helpfully provides a glossary, which most readers will need to consult less the further they read, as the words become familiar through repetition and context. Grace (the author’s mother) is a feisty, intelligent, quick-witted (and quick-tempered) child who knows she is not accepted either by her own people nor the whites around her, but has no idea why until she begins to realise who her father may have been—a shattering discovery. She grows up in a small, ugly government box of a home, then spends a year in an Adelaide hospital being treated for osteomyelitis, where she luxuriates in clean sheets, regular food and basic schooling at which she excels. Returning home is a challenge. Her life, with its petty cruelties, occasional kindnesses and, above all, a complicated relationship with her extended family and loving but wayward mother, is compelling, wonderfully well told, and deserves the widest possible audience.
Review by Max Oliver (Source: Bookseller+Publisher)
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 22nd August 2012
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.249