Margaret River Press

Ways of Being Here features four stories by emerging writers Rafeif Ismail, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Tinashe Jakwa and Yuot Alaak, winners of last year's 'Ways of Being Here' flash fiction competition, which was open to any writer of African heritage residing in Western Australia who had less than four published stories and/or articles. The stories featured are urgent, innovative, and inimitable, distinct voices that are easy to read, but hard to forget once you've entered their worlds, words, and thoughts.

In her Foreword, Maxine Beneba Clarke says, 'When we speak of black narratives in Australia, it is crucial to first acknowledge the stories of this land – of Australia’s First Peoples. It is this canon which should be the foundation of any conversation about inclusiveness in our national literature. We must know, respect and raise up the truths and tales which have come before us: the uninterrupted storytelling which has occurred, and continues to sing here, for thousands upon thousands of years.

Black people of African descent – black African diaspora settlers and migrants, and the descendants of such – have been living in Australia for over 200 years. Yet local African diaspora fiction has been markedly absent from Australian shelves. In an own voices sense, African Australia has long been invisible from Australian fiction.

This collection is a seed; a sample; a sign of what will most certainly come to pass. Flooded with the rhythms, poetry and patterns of the mother continent, there is also something about these stories – their preoccupations and sensibilities – which feels familiar. These stories speak of duty, family, blood-ties, and history. These stories sing of love, loss, and loneliness. Here, there are tales of hybrid identity and cultural clashes, of both ostracism and embrace.'

This collection is the outcome of a mentoring project facilitated by the Centre for Stories and funded by the Department of Culture and Arts (WA).

Rafeif Ismail turns to poetry and music to remind her of her first home and as a way to learn her first language. A third-culture child of the Sudanese diaspora, Rafeif often explores the ideas of home and belonging in her craft. Writing first began as a way for her to understand and reconcile different aspects of her identity as a Sudanese refugee in Australia. Rafeif ’s writing is often a mixture of Arabic and English. She is looking for a way that will allow her to recreate the stories of her childhood in her second language.

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is a writer, researcher and poet from the holy town of Lalibela in Ethiopia. His poetry is published in Yeteraroch Chuhet (The Cry of Mountains), in which he uses his native language of Amharic to reflect on Ethiopia’s history of loss and resilience. Yirga lives in Perth, Western Australia, where he has started to explore storytelling through his second language of  English.

Tinashe Jakwa is studying a Master of International Relations at The University of Western Australia, and is an active member of the university’s Africa Research Cluster. Her work has been published in The Australasian Review of African Studies; the Australian Institute of International Affairs’ blog, ‘Australian Outlook’; and the Young Australians in
International Affairs
blog ‘Insights’.

Yuot Alaak is a former child refugee from South Sudan. He currently lives with his family in Perth, Western Australia, where he works as a mining professional. He enjoys writing for fun and loves storytelling. Yuot was part of the globally known ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’.

Ways of Being Here

Rafeif Ismail, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Tinashe Jakwa and Yuot Alaak

Ways of Being Here features four stories by emerging writers Rafeif Ismail, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Tinashe Jakwa and Yuot Alaak, winners of last year's 'Ways of Being Here' flash fiction competition, which was open to any writer of African heritage residing in Western Australia who had less than four published stories and/or articles. The stories featured are urgent, innovative, and inimitable, distinct voices that are easy to read, but hard to forget once you've entered their worlds, words, and thoughts.

Read more

Publication Year
February 2017
Edition
1st edition
Publisher
Margaret River Press and Centre for Stories
ISBN13
9780994316776
Format
Paperback
Category
New Releases
Tags
fiction

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