THE closure of UWA’s publishing arm is a severe blow to local Indigenous writing, says Miles Franklin Award winner Kim Scott.
The Noongar author, who grew up in Menang country around Albany on the South Coast but now lives in the Perth suburb of Beaconsfield, has added his signature to a letter calling on UWA to reverse the decision, which was announced earlier this month.
Scott says UWA Publishing’s combination of Aboriginal and regional literature was something that made it “special” and “distinctive” and he says it’s unlikely the bigger commercial publishers will be interested in supporting those areas.
He wondered whether important works by indigenous illustrators and authors such as Laurel Nannup, Vivienne Hansen or Anna Haebich would have got the same treatment without UWAP.
“It brings them into the mix; otherwise there wouldn’t be that opportunity,” Scott said.
“It gives a voice akin to the opportunities that the Uluru Statement might offer.
“It is publishing this really distinctive cultural material that hasn’t yet got a mainstream audience.”
Scott collaborated on a series of Noongar-language books published by UWAP which are now used in schools, and has recently been part of a group collecting rare Noongar-language songs from Albany. They’d also been slated for release through UWAP but Scott says he doesn’t know what will happen with that project now.
There was a protest held on Tuesday at UWA’s Crawley campus which attracted around 120 people.
by ALEX MURFETT