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Conversation with Kim

Kim Mahood is a writer of the most lucid prose, serious but with the lightest of touch, whose subjects are places in the centre of this continent; places where there are few maps, and where those that exist are doubtful, in both provenance and accuracy.

Her first book, Craft for a Dry Lake, chronicled her efforts to reconnect with the land where she grew up, a cattle station in the Tanami Desert known as Mongrel Downs. It won the Age Book of the Year and the NSW Premier’s Award for non-fiction.

Her second book, Position Doubtful, preserved some of the ‘spare lyricism of the earlier work… while also exhibiting a much sharper sense of the contradictions of present-day reality in Indigenous communities.’

Kim will be in Maleny to speak about her new book, Wandering With Intent. It is a collection of essays she describes as ‘the writer’s equivalent of hunting and gathering… a product of wandering among the contradictions of the cross-cultural world I have chosen to inhabit…’ It involves what she refers to as ground-truthing:

“My version of that,”she writes, “begins with the physical attributes of place, and moves onto what has happened there. It puts people into place, which brings into play science, stories, husbandry, history, metaphor, and myth.”

Kim is non-Indigenous herself, but grew up surrounded by First Nations people. She maintains strong connections with both the Walpiri and Walmajarri peoples, returning to spend half of each year in the western deserts. She writes with a refreshing honesty about important political, social and cultural issues, bringing a strong sense of irony and humour into difficult places, her bullshit detector always close by.

Hear Kim Mahood in conversation with Steven Lang on Tuesday April 18, 6 for 6.30pm, at the Maleny Community Centre.Tickets $25 and $18 for students. Louise Martin-Chew will be speaking beforehand about her biography of Batjala artist Fiona Foley - a beautifully composed, intimate account of the artist’s practice.


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