In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.
Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist 2015
Literary Fiction Of The Year, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) 2015
Debut Fiction, Indie Book Awards 2015
Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013
ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers 2015
UTS Glenda Adams Debut Fiction, NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2015
The Stella Prize 2015
Longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2015
Contains the brand new story AVIATION.
In Melbourne's western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.
The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.
The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving . . .
About the Author
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is on Parole and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue.
Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014) won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015, the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and Maxine was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015, as well as being shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. A collection of Maxine's poetry Carrying The World, her memoir The Hate Race and her first children's picture book The Patchwork Bike will be published in 2016.
Foreign Soil is a book in the tradition of Nam Le and Junot Diaz, with echoes of Zadie Smith, Monica Ali and Alice Pung - all writers Clarke finds inspiring. It is also the work of a unique voice and an astonishing ventriloquist. Ten stories, written over several years, enter the minds and hearts and dialects of Africans, West Indians, African-Americans and whites of all descriptions. - The Saturday Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times
This is a remarkable collection of disparate and disquieting short stories ... Clarke has a chameleon-like ability to inhabit different characters and surroundings ... her stories are powerful and relevant and show her versatility and ability to write local dialects and employ different literary techniques. - Herald Sun
In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you and grab you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest. - Good Reading
Clarke lobs a Molotov under any reader expecting a literary comfort zone ... [Foreign Soil
] marks the arrival of a major new voice in the Australian literary landscape - Australian Bookseller & Publisher
It delivers a series of brilliant, moving portraits that reach beyond the tabloid headlines and shed light on some of society's most marginalised groups - GQ Australia
[Of Maxine's work] amazing - Tim Minchin
an assured and skilful debut - The Weekend Australian