#LoveOzLit: Ambelin Kwaymullina on characterisation

Ambelin Kwaymullina: on respecting the experience of what it means to be Indigenous or marginalised

Respecting the experience of Indigenous and marginalised peoples

Ambelin Kwaymullina is an author and illustrator and is of the Palyku people. She is the author of The Tribe series and here talks about characterisation and what authors are doing when they write from the POV of Indigenous and marginalised characters: namely that they are denying the humanity of these characters and people.

Can a non-Indigenous author ever truly understand what it means to be Indigenous, without experiencing what comes with that in the real world?

Laurinda is a book I reviewed last year and is the story of Lucy, an Asian girl as she enters a private school, and her experiences there. It is by Alice Pung and the story is filled with the experiences of an Asian immigrant child and it could not have been written by anyone else. Alice’s experience is unique.

What books do you think do not respect the culture and the people they’re writing about?

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