Later this month University of Queensland Press will publish a debut work of Australian crime fiction that I’m very keen to get my hands on: THE BOUNDARY by Nicole Watson. This is the publisher’s blurb
Long ago, Meston Park in Brisbane’s West End marked the city’s boundary. A curfew kept its Aboriginal population outside the city limits after dark.
When the park becomes the site of a multi-million dollar development, the Corrowa People vow to fight and file a native title claim. Hours after rejecting the claim, Justice Bruce Brosnan is brutally murdered.
Some believe it is the work of an ancient assassin, returned to destroy the boundary.
While the investigation forces Detective Jason Matthews to confront his buried heritage, lawyer Miranda Eversely battles a sense of personal failure at the Corrowa’s defeat
How far will it take her to the edge of self-destruction?
The novel won the David Unaipon Award in 2009 which is given to the best manuscript by an unpublished indigenous writer in the annual Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards (the award is named after a very famous Australian Aboriginal man who was an inventor, activist, writer and lecturer and whose image is on the $50 note in our currency).
Although Australian crime fiction does have several indigenous protagonists (including Arthur Upfield’s Napoleon Bonaparte and Adrian Hyland’s Emily Tempest) I can’t think of one who was created by an indigenous writer (do let me know via the comments if there are any that I’ve missed) and I am looking forward to seeing how Watson has approached the genre.
Nicole Watson is a member of the Birri-Gubba People and the Yugambeh language group. Admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1999, Nicole has worked for Legal Aid Queensland, the National Native Title Tribunal and the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. She is currently a senior research fellow at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS, and is also a columnist with the National Indigenous Times.
EVENT: Nicole is appearing at one of the crime fiction events that makes up the Sydney Writer’s Festival Program. Along with PM Newton and Shamini Flint she’ll be talking about detectives who break new ground and don’t fit the stereotypes in a session called The New School on Sunday May 22.
Release date for THE BOUNDARY is officially 30 May 2011 in Australia and the RRP for the book is $24.95. Both of the libraries I belong to have ordered a copy which is encouraging to see, I haven’t yet checked with my local bookshop about whether or not they have ordered copies.