The Wheeler Centre
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Texts in the City: The Secret River
In this edition of Texts in the City - the last with host Tony Wilson - writer and educator Tony Birch lends his knowledge of indigenous history to our understanding of Kate Grenville’s novel, The Secret River.
Subject matter covered in the discussion includes: the role of women in Grenville’s story and indigenous society, early settlers' hunger for land, and the centrality of conflict in the book and in fiction more generally.
Wilson and Birch also talk about the politics of the book, particularly around the time of its release, when questions were raised over the novelisation of history as well as whether non-indigenous writers should be able to write about indigenous characters.
What The Secret River offers, Birch says, is a reflection of how different cultures can get along with the aid of insight. It’s a book that urges us to consider our relationship with other peoples in contemporary society.