Feminartsy’s first Read Like a Feminist Book Club was held last Tuesday night at the Alderman in Brunswick East. The book was Growing Up African In Australia [Edited by Maxine Beneba Clarke. Black Inc Books, 2019. Pp 288. A$29.99]. If you missed out, see below for a summary of discussion questions.
What is Growing Up African in Australia about?
Learning to kick a football in a suburban schoolyard. Finding your feet as a young black dancer. Discovering your grandfather’s poetry. Meeting Nelson Mandela at your local church. Facing racism from those who should protect you. Dreading a visit to the hairdresser. House- hopping across the suburbs. Being too black. Not being black enough. Singing to find your soul, and then losing yourself again. Welcome to African Australia.
Compiled by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, with curatorial assistance from writers Ahmed Yussuf and Magan Magan, this anthology brings together voices from the regions of Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean and the Americas. Told with passion, power and poise, these are the stories of African-diaspora Australians.
Contributors include Faustina Agolley, Santilla Chingaipe, Carly Findlay, Khalid Warsame, Nyadol Nyuon, Tariro Mavondo and many, many more.
This is a wide-ranging collection – stories from all over Australia, from many genders, from diverse experiences of class, stories told with humour, with sadness, with fear and anxiety. As a snapshot of African diaspora communities in Australia, it certainly captures a wealth of experiences.
Things to discuss
At Read Like a Feminist Book Club, we want to talk about lots of things, but some key points of interest are:
- This book is one of a series of ‘Growing Up — in Australia’ – why are these books proliferating at this time? What does it mean to read them?
- How does gender impact and relate to the stories being shared?
- How do these stories shift the notion of ‘Australianness’?
Stuff you should read/watch/listen to:
- This piece in the Conversation
- Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Introduction, extracted here
- A review by Readings