6 Degrees of Separation: From Wintering to Homecoming
Welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation, where readers all start with the same book and link it to six other titles in any random way our minds decide to make connections.
This month’s starting book is Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.
I haven’t read Wintering, but having heard the author read just a short passage, I’m heading straight to my bookshop as soon as I hit publish on this post.
Linking via title, my next book is Winter, a young adult novel by John Marsden. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve read it, and I don’t remember the story very well, but I often recommended Marsden’s books to reluctant teen readers when I was an English teacher.
Marsden is better known for Tomorrow When the War Began, the first book in a series about a group of teenagers who return from a camping trip to discover that their town has been captured and the country invaded by an unknown foreign power.
Claire G. Coleman has written a novel of speculative fiction that tells the story of invasion and colonisation. Terra Nullius riffs off the words—meaning empty land—that the British applied to Australia to justify their taking possession of it in the late 18th century (even though Australia was never empty).
With it being NAIDOC Week (which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia), it seems timely to link Coleman’s novel to other stories by First Nations writers. If you want a collection that enables you to hear multiple stories from a variety of perspectives, check out Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, edited by Anita Heiss.
Cindy Solonec, a Nigena (Nyikina) woman, grew up in the West Kimberley area of Western Australia, and she has written Debesa, part memoir, part family history and part social history.
Debesa was recently shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards, as was Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki. Both are published by Magabala Books, who are doing an incredible job of mentoring and publishing First Nations writers to ensure the voices of the next generation are heard.
This month, I began with the winter season, which Katherine May suggests is a time of retreat and rest. However, more than half of the links in my chain are by First Nations authors, who understand the changes in weather in terms of six seasons.
In the Nyoongar calendar (the traditional language where I live) identify these as Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang; the Bureau of Meterology’s website can tell you the name of the seasons according to the First Nations language spoken in your area.
Over to You
Where will Six Degrees of Separation take you?
You can check out what books other readers have in their chains by heading to booksaremyfavouriteandbest.
Next month’s starting book will be The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.