Ways of Being Here

$15Out of stock

Ways of Being Here

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.

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$15Out of stock


Short Stories

Publication Year



Margaret River Press








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.

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.

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 an emerging Western Australian writer whose short story ‘The lost girl of Pajomba’ was anthologised by Margaret River Press in Ways of Being Here. He was a panelist at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival. Yuot is a former child refugee from South Sudan and was part of the globally known ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’. He lives in Perth with his family where he works as a mining professional, having attained degrees in geosciences and engineering.

‘The four writers, Rafeif Ismail, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Tinashe Jakwa, and Yuot Alaak, trace their lineage to Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan, respectively, and it is their strong connection to their homelands, culture and memories that drive their own individual stories.’  Right Now 

‘This is a powerful collection of stories that speak of loss, of family and belonging, of identity, of memory, of horrendous acts of brutality and small acts of kindness.’ writingWA

Australian Women Writers Challenge ‘In Conversation with Tinashe Jakwa’.  

More than anything, Margaret River Press offers an engaging, approachable alternative to mass publication, selecting those titles that speak to us, and bringing them to you, the reader.

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