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Black Lives Matter address for Byron Writers Fest

Professor Marcia Langton

One of Australia’s most eminent Indigenous academics and advocates, Professor Marcia Langton delivered the Byron Writers Festival 2020 Thea Astley address.

The address, named in honour of one of Australia’s most influential and distinctive novelists, has been presented at the Festival anually since 2005 by some of Australia’s best writers and intellectuals.

Thea Astley, who died in 2004, wrote The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow in 1996. The novel is based on a violent event that took place on Palm Island, QLD in 1930 – perpetrated by a white superintendent of the settlement.

He was eventually shot dead by one of the Indigenous inhabitants, under orders from the white deputy superintendent.

Professor Langton says, ‘I hope Thea Astley, in the other world, has watched the last few weeks of the Black Lives Matter movement, and pondered on the history of Palm Island. It seems that every generation needs to be told why black lives matter. Here we are again’.

The speech is available via podcast at: www.byronwritersfestival.com/digital.


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