Benang by Kim Scott is the latest Fremantle Press Treasure. It was the first book by an Indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award and, after nearly two decades, its continued relevance, its scope, language and largeness of spirit shows why it won our most prestigious prize, and why Scott went on to win it again.
Kim Scott says: ‘Telling Harley’s story felt very important at the time. I wanted to tentatively map a path of recovery from some of the damage of our shared history – the rationalisation of colonisation, the deaths and loss and the reductionist discourses about identity.'
'Where we are now has a direct relationship to the 1990s, when such issues as Native Title, Reconciliation and the Stolen Generations emerged with real force. Such things, among others, generated real momentum for change, and equally strong reactions and countervailing forces. I think we are still dealing with this in our historical and national conversations. In 2016, I read the last couple of pages of Benang at the opening event of the Perth International Arts Festival, where the theme was ‘Home’, and it seemed very apt and contemporary in that context. I hope the book will be read because it’s about our shared history, and what it means to be living in this part of the world today. Because at times – at least in my opinion – it’s funny. Because it's serious. Because it's about the language and stories that have formed our society. Because it's about us, and the possibility of communal identity being grounded in our deep history.’
The Fremantle Press Treasures edition of Benang is available in all good bookstores now.