Cultural snapshots from Maxine Beneba Clarke

maxine beneba clark foreign soilMaxine Beneba Clarke might already be known to those of you who attend performance poetry events in Melbourne, and she’s certainly making a name for herself in Australia’s literary world. Her poem ‘nothing here needs fixing’ won the 2013 Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize; her forthcoming memoir The Hate Race won the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship 2014; and this collection of short stories, Foreign Soil, won the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013.

Beneba Clarke is an Australian woman of Afro-Caribbean descent. Her stories are assured and sample diverse historical and cultural scenes — an asylum seeker in Villawood Detention Centre; Sudanese women riding bikes in Melbourne’s western suburbs; a Black Power squat in 60s Brixton. Each tale is well embodied, rich in detail and local voice — I enjoyed the range of settings and characters, and was glad to read writing from an Australian and Afro-Caribbean woman.

Foreign Soil – Maxine Beneba Clarke – Hachette – PB – $25

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Filed under Australian Women Writers Challenge (AWW), Book Group titles, Reviews

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