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Shadow Lines

Written by Stephen Kinnane


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Shadow Lines is the story of Jessie Argyle, born in the remote East Kimberley and taken from her Aboriginal family at the age of five, and Edward Smith, a young Englishman escaping the rigid structures of London who fell in love and married. Despite unrelenting surveillance and harassment, the Smith home was a centre for Aboriginal cultural and social life for over thirty years. A deeply personal story of two remarkable people.

A powerful and lyrical work by a writer of vision and imagination.

'[four stars] … strongly recommended' Australian Bookseller+Publisher

'… a profound read.' Western Suburbs Weekly

‘… a tale of self-discovery, beautifully told … a considerable accomplishment …’ The West Australian

'Kinnane’s meticulous research and a talent at reading between the lines of the official records are evident from the first chapter.' Aboriginal History

'… little short of a masterpiece.' Sydney Morning Herald

'… a stunning work, straddling the genres of lay and academic history.' Studies in Western Australian History

'Richly characterised and lyrically drawn, Shadow Lines is one of the great works of Western Australian literature.' Writing WA

'It is almost 20 years since this classic award-winning Indigenous memoir was first published in 2003, and it has lost none of its punch.' Good Reading

'This is a book that should be on high school and tertiary curricula. Its subject matter is as timeless as its emotional strength is powerful.' Fremantle Shipping News



AIATSIS Stanner Award (Winner 2006)
Western Australian Premier’s Award (Winner 2006)
Fellowship of Australian Writers Melbourne University Publishing Award for non-fiction (2003)
Queensland Premier’s Awards (Shortlisted)
South Australian Premier’s Awards (Shortlisted)

ISBN 9781925816709 (Paperback)
Formats C Format (234 x 153mm) (Paperback)
Categories Books for History Teachers
Book Club Reads
New Releases
Mother's Day 2021
Indigenous Writing
Autobiography, Biography & Memoir
Award Winning
Pages 384
Publication Year Originally published 2003, this edition 2020
Edition 2nd
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • Steve kinnane web

    Stephen Kinnane

    Stephen Kinnane is a Marda Marda from Mirriwoong country in the East Kimberley. He has been an active writer and researcher for more than 25 years as well as lecturing and working on sustainability, politics and history with a focus on regional and local community resilience, belonging and connections with place. His interests are diverse, encompassing Aboriginal history, creative documentary (both visual and literary), regional sustainability and resource scarcity. Kinnane co-wrote and produced The Coolbaroo Club (1996), an ABC TV documentary awarded the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Human Rights Award for the Arts, and collaborated with Lauren Marsh and Alice Nannup on When the Pelican Laughed (1992), the story of Mrs Alice Nannup (Fremantle Press). Read more