Magabala’s Dark Emu talked about at first Parliamentary Book Club

Making history, MPs and Senators discussed Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu at the first Australian Parliamentary Book Club last night.

During a nation-wide call out for nominations, Pascoe’s award-winning non-fiction book was a clear favourite.

Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton, CEO of Dark Emu publisher Magabala Books, attended the evening and had a conversation with MPs and Senators about the book over pizza and drinks.

Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton from Magabala with Grahame and Hollie, holding the Dark Emu book

Pascoe said “The reading and lively discussion of Dark Emu in the Parliamentary Book Club, will I hope, add momentum to the discussion on how all Australians can take better care for our country. This is our shared country we are talking about, she deserves our most considered thought.”

Anna Moulton said, “Dark Emu has played an important role in helping Australians reconsider long-held beliefs about pre-Colonial Australia.  Of course it’s not just about the past, and we’re very hopeful that the discussions will have positive ripple effects. All Australians have so much to gain by embracing the achievements, culture and wisdom of First Australians.”

A spread of the books Dark Emu, Young Dark Emu, Dark Emu In The Classroom spread out on a table

The Parliamentary Book Club is a new, bi-partisan initiative led by Senator Hollie Hughes and Graham Perrett MP as part of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers group.

NSW Senator Hollie Hughes said “Dark Emu is a fascinating account of ancient practices that remain relevant – and the timing of the spotlight on Bruce’s remarkable text is poignant.”

Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton said, “Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’ made my deep love for Australia even more profound.  Through the prism of more than 60,000 years of carefully laid out history of First Nations People I re-discovered the essence of a home that I thought I knew.  Now I know it better and even more proudly.”

Pizza in open boxes in the foreground as polliticians listen to and talk to Bruce Pascoe and Anna Moulton from Magabala books about Dark Emu as part of the first Parliementary Book Club

The call out for recommendations and nominations for the next Parliamentary Book Club book begins Monday 17 February. The next book will be announced in March.

“We will be calling for books, that like Dark Emu, will help us ask deeper questions and have broader conversations about our great nation” said Perrett at the end of the book club.

Perrett shared one of the lessons he learned in reading Dark Emu, “that lesson is encapsulated in the title Dark Emu itself. It stands as a metaphor for looking at the same beautiful southern sky, but seeing from a different perspective. Whether we focus on the bright stars, the constellations named by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, or the deep dark of the universe in between in the shape of an emu. The idea is that we are open to seeing both. And that is part of the great gift of our first Australians.”

What should our politicians read and talk about at the next Parliamentary Book Club?

Find your MPs by postcode here and let them know your recommendation for a reading nation. Email them or tag them on socials!

You have until March 6 to nominate a book by an Australian author published in the last five years.

 

Dark Emu selected as the first book for Parliamentary Book Club

Front cover of Dark Emu

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe has been selected as the first book to be read at Parliament House by politicians for the inaugural Parliamentary Book Club.

 

During a nation-wide call out for nominations, Pascoe’s award-winning non-fiction book was a clear favourite on social media; which involved a two week campaign with a reach of well over a million.

 

Dark Emu was announced as the chosen book at the launch of Australian Reading Hour at Parliament House on 17 September 2019. 

 

The book challenges preconceived ideas of Australia’s Aboriginal past. The book explores the complex and sophisticated land management systems of pre-colonial Aboriginal society and calls for a recognition of this past as a way of addressing our shared future.

 

On his book being chosen author Bruce Pascoe says, “I’m looking forward to the conversation. Dark Emu analyses the past but it is about the future, how we manage the land, how we care for each other.” 

 

Rachel Bin Salleh publisher at Magabala Books says, “We knew how important Dark Emu was when we first published it in 2014, but to see it gathering momentum and taking hold in the hearts and minds of so many Australians gives us hope. We believe that Dark Emu can be the catalyst for meaningful change.”  

 

The Parliamentary Book Club is a new initiative led by Senator Hollie Hughes and Graham Perrett MP. Both Co-Chairs are thrilled by the overwhelming response from Australians and the discussion the campaign sparked.  

 

Senator Hollie Hughes says “This is the first time Federal Parliament, or any Parliament in Australia (that we know of), has run a book club which invites the general public to nominate books for politicians to read. It is a unique opportunity to deeply engage with both our constituents and some of our leading Australian authors.”

 

Graham Perrett MP says, “Dark Emu has already generated a lot of important discussion in our country. It is fitting that, we as representatives of the Australian people, be engaged in that public and private dialogue. I am looking forward to reading Dark Emu, meeting with 

 

Bruce Pascoe and his publishers at Magabala Books, and having lots of great conversations about our Indigenous past and how it can inform our future.”

 

The first Parliamentary Book Club will be held in early 2020. The author and publisher will travel to Canberra and join the discussion with the participating politicians. 

 

Other books with a high number of nominations include: No Friend But The Mountains by Behrooz Boochani (Pan Macmillan),  Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin), Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko (University of Queensland Press) and Call of the Reed Warbler (University of Queensland Press) by Charles Massy. 

 

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For an interview with the Parliamentary Book Club leaders, and with Bruce Pascoe and Magabala Books, please contact: 

 

Alex Christopher | Australian Publishers Association | 0491 269 049  OR,

Sarah Runcie | Australian Publishers Association | 0402 107 043

Tell your pollie what book to read

Tell your pollie what book to read

Australians are being invited to nominate a book they believe Parliamentarians should read as part of a new book club for the nation’s leaders at Parliament House.

Nominations are being accepted by your local federal members’ offices or Senate representative. Books nominated must be written by Australian authors and published in the country within the last five years.

Aussies are encouraged to nominate a book which has inspired them, or that reveals an aspect of Australian life that is worthwhile of the attention of our politicians, to spark discussion.

The Parliamentary Book Club will invite all Parliamentarians to read the book selected, meet the author, and engage in a dialogue about its themes at Parliament House.

The inaugural book picked for Parliamentary Book Club will be announced on 17 September at the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers event.

Joint Co-Chair of the Friends Group Senator Hollie Hughes says, “We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the Inaugural Parliamentary Book Club. This is a collaborative, and bi-partisan initiative that we hope will bring together book lovers of all stripes in Parliament.”

“I am looking forward to being entertained, challenged and informed by whatever book is selected. I am interested to know what Australians are reading – and what they think is important for their Parliamentary representatives to be engaged by. In Parliament, political dialogue needs depth. This is one small way we get to deepen our appreciation, and learn from, our great Australian writers,” Ms Hughes has shared.

Co-Chair Graham Perrett MP says, “As a former English teacher I know first hand how important reading is to developing minds. But reading and engaging deeply with others – either in the form of narrative or ideas – is important at all stages of life and learning, and

certainly just as important in Parliament. This is an opportunity for the public to say to their MP or Senator – Read this. This has something important to say to you as a representative of the Australian public.

Send Australian authored book nominations (published within the last five years) to your local member or senator. Find your MP or Senator via the Australian Parliament House website. Nominations close 30 August 2019.

 

To share this information on social media, please read here for more information.

Supported by the Books Create Australia partners: ALIA, ABA, APA and ASA.

+612 9281 9788

0491 269 049

New Friend for Books in Parliament

New friend for books in Parliament 

Minister Reynolds CSC, in having been elevated to the Cabinet position of Minister for Defence, has resigned from her role as Co-Chair of  Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers (PFABW). The APA is truly grateful for her time in supporting the Australian book industry within Parliament, alongside continuing co-chair Graham Perrett MP.

Filling Senator Reynolds’ place is NSW Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes and we welcome her to the PFABW position. Senator Hughes has a focus on representing regional and rural concerns. She is a founder of the Country Autism Network which aims to support families in rural NSW with family members diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her maiden speech in Parliament is scheduled for the late afternoon of Tuesday 30 July 2019.

Senator Hughes says, “I am thrilled to be taking on the role of co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers for the 46th Parliament. Books are an important part of Australia’s culture and heritage. The Australian book industry is a vibrant and successful creative industry. I am looking forward to engaging with our fine Australian writers, publishers, librarians, and booksellers and highlighting the value of their work to my fellow parliamentarians.”

The next Parliamentary Friends event will be held on 17 September in Parliament House. The event will launch of Australian Reading Hour which will be held on 19 September.

A Reading Nation Is A Better Nation

The Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers heard last Tuesday 12 February a personal and passionate speech from HarperCollins author and journalist Trent Dalton about the power of books and the difference reading had made to his own life.

Thirty Parliamentarians and their staff listened to how for Dalton and his brothers, books and libraries had been a refuge from a tough childhood and a path to a better life.

At the same event, Books Create Australia – the book industry partnership of authors, booksellers, librarians and publishers – presented a vision for Australian publishing: “A Reading Nation is a Better Nation”. With a somewhat playful air, Dalton said anyone who didn’t support the idea of Australia as a reading nation should contact him directly.

Co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC and Labor’s Graham Perrett MP, enthusiastically supported the idea of a fresh joint vision for a reading nation created by the whole industry.

The plan has goals for literacy, culture and the economy, developing a National Early Literacy Framework, promoting reading and Australian books, and investing in innovative supply chain solutions.

Books Create Australia CEOs: Juliet Rogers of the Australian Society of Authors, Robbie Egan of the Booksellers Association, Sue McKerracher from Australian Information and Libraries Association (ALIA) and Michael Gordon-Smith from the APA, thanked the co-chairs for their support.

Linda Reynolds and Graham Perrett have been crucial in establishing the non-partisan group and we’re very grateful for their solid supporters of the book industry.

Afterwards Trent Dalton told Twitter he was, “deeply proud to live in a place where busy politicians from all sides come together and celebrate books and reading.”

The next event will be held on 17 September 2019. Despite the Federal election before that in May, both co-chairs expressed their keenness to remain involved with the group.

The Australian Society of Authors penned a humorous poem read aloud for the co-chairs, which you can read here.

Parliamentary attendees (and their staff) included:

If your local member is here, tell them you welcome their support for books and writers.

  • Senator Linda Reynolds, Western Australia
  • Graham Perrett MP, Member for Moreton
  • Senator Lisa Singh, Tasmania
  • Marian Joseph, Office of Cathy McGowan
  • Brett Maryniak, Office of Brian Mitchell MP
  • Kathryn Newett, Office of Senator Carol Brown
  • Luke Heffernan, Office of Michelle Rowland MP
  • Sussan Ley MP, Member for Farrer
  • Susan Lamb MP, Member for Longman
  • Senator Catryna Bilyk, Tasmania
  • Terri Butler MP, Member for Griffith
  • Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Member for Hunter
  • Bryan Mitchell, Member for Lyons
  • Meryl Swanson MP, Member for Peterson
  • Senator Arthur Sinodinos, New South Wales
  • Kevin Andrews MP, Member for Menzies
  • Maria Moscaritolo​​​​​​​, Office of Stirling Griffith
  • Senator Don Farrell, South Australia
  • Susan Templeman MP, Member for Macquarie
  • Rebekha Sharkie MP, Member for Mayo
  • Rob Mitchell MP, Member for McEwen
  • Senator David Smith, ACT
  • Patrick Gorman MP, Member for Perth
  • Dylan Caporn​​​​​​​, Office of Patrick Gorman
  • Senator Helen Polley, Tasmania
  • Senator Wendy Askew, Tasmania