“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” — Aboriginal Proverb
Our lives have turned upside down due to the global Covid19 pandemic. In the time of the Coronavirus, reading can be a companion and a way to travel and gain new perspectives on the nature of our interconnected world.
Launched in June 2019 within the Tannenbusch House community, the English Language Book Club Bonn invites you to read and discuss books together from authors around the globe. The idea behind it is to create a space for an intercultural exchange and a discussion on contemporary world literature and our shared humanity.
The November book is The Yield by Tara June Winch, an Australian writer of Aboriginal, Afghani and British decent who’s currently living in France. Her 2019 novel begins with Wiradjuri elder Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi introducing his story. He’s determined to pass on to the next generations the language of his people and the knowledge he has amassed throughout his life on the banks of the Murrumby River. So he wrote shortly before his death a dictionary. When his granddaughter August returns to Australia from Europe for the funeral, she finds out that her family’s home in Massacre Plains is at risk of being destroyed by a powerful mining company. Led by her grandfather’s voice, August vows to save her country.
The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.
Tara June Winch was born 1983 and named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist for her first novel Swallow the Air published in 2006. She received a year-long mentorship in 2008 from the Nigerian poet and Literature Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.
Soyinka says he chose Winch to be his protégée because of her “sure hand [and] observant eye”. Even at the beginning of their mentorship, the differences between Winch and Soyinka – age, gender, nationality – did not matter, particularly as they discovered their real-life and literary predilection for travel.
Winch’s second novel, which is an outcome this unique mentorship, will be discussed on Sunday, November 22nd, 6 – 8 PM. Follow this link to join the online book club meeting: https://meet.jit.si/BookClubNovember . For further information, please visit the book club’s Public Facebook Group or feel free to contact Andreas, the book club coordinator, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Peoples, languages, and widlife of Australia have been purposely decimated for a great many years. The history of this vast land is a tragic one, and this young Indeginous author has taken it on in a graceful act of retrieval and witness. The dictionary and use of Wiradjuri words is transporting Birrabuwawanha – to return, to come back. The Yield is a fine novel, and one not without hope.”
Joy Williams, award-winning author of The Visiting Privilege