About the author
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland Literary Journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry has been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship, and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation. Evelyn’s debut collection Dropbear won the 2022 Stella Prize.
About the book
This fierce debut from award-winning writer Evelyn Araluen confronts the tropes and iconography of an unreconciled nation with biting satire and lyrical fury. Dropbear interrogates the complexities of colonial and personal history with an alternately playful, tender and mournful intertextual voice, deftly navigating the responsibilities that gather from sovereign country, the spectres of memory and the debris of settler-coloniality. This innovative mix of poetry and essay offers an eloquent witness to the entangled present, an uncompromising provocation of history, and an embattled but redemptive hope for a decolonial future.
Dropbear is a breathtaking collection of poetry and short prose which arrests key icons of mainstream Australian culture and turns them inside out, with malice aforethought. Araluen’s brilliance sizzles when she goes on the attack against the kitsch and the cuddly: against Australia’s fantasy of its own racial and environmental innocence. She revels in difficult questions like “Can’t be lyric if you’re flora, right/Can’t be sovereign if you’re fauna, right?” And “Humans…did you really think all the Bad Banksia men were deadibones when they went to the bottom of the sea…?” Acerbic, witty, and with no reverence at all for the colony, Araluen remembers those dispossessed and voiceless, just as she predicts a hard-won future for her children – “look at this earth we cauterised/the healing we took with flame/I will show them a place/they will never have to leave”.
“Dropbear is a work of agency and radicalism.” – Jeanine Leane, Sydney Review of Books
“Dropbear can teach us all if we are willing to learn how to read, to listen, to comprehend.” – John Kinsella, Sydney Morning Herald
“…Dropbear, is a lyrical and satirical collection full of punch and purpose.” – Raelee Lancaster, ArtsHub
Watch Evelyn Araluen discuss Dropbear via the University of Queensland Press
Listen to Evelyn Araluen on ABC Radio’s AWAYE! with Rudi Bremer
Listen to Evelyn Araluen read from Dropbear via The Leaf Bookshop