Kim Scott First Indigenous Commonwealth Winner

Congratulations to Kim Scott, who has been named the winner of the southeast Asia and Pacific regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Nominated for his novel, That Deadman Dance, Scott thus becomes eligible to win the overall prize.

Scott is an indigenous Western Australian writer - a descendant of the Noongar people - and he previously won the Miles Franklin Award in 2000 for his 1999 novel Benang.

Scott becomes the first indigenous Australian to win the prize, although he was quoted in The Age as taking little satisfaction from the achievement: “It bothers me a bit because it says what a history of disadvantage we’ve had when indigenous Australians have always been storytellers. It’s really sad.”

That Deadman Dance adds to a growing canon of Australian literature (including Kate Grenville’s The Secret River) re-imagining the compelling drama of early contact between indigenous Australians and the early waves of European settlers. Scott’s telling adds a specifically Western Australian dimension to first contact literature.

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