Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 4, 2018

Book Giveaway: Women of a Certain Age, edited by Susan Laura Sullivan, Maria Scoda, and Jodie Moffat

In anticipation of Indigenous Literature Week for 2018, I am pleased to be able to offer a giveaway of Women of a Certain Age from Fremantle Press in WA.

This is the blurb:

Anne Aly, Liz Byrski, Sarah Drummond, Mehreen Faruqi, Goldie Goldbloom, Krissy Kneen, Jeanine Leane, Brigid Lowry and Pat Mamanyjun Torres are among fifteen voices recounting what it is like to be a woman on the other side of 40. These are stories of identity and survival, and a celebration of getting older and wiser, and becoming more certain of who you are and where you want to be.

There are two Indigenous voices included in the collection – ‘Black Boxes’ by Jeanine Leane and  ‘Djana ngayu Who am I?’ by Pat Mamanyjun Torres.  Jeanine Leane is the well-known author of Purple Threads (see my review), and ‘Black Boxes’ is reviewed here at Underground Writers.  Pat Mamanyjun Torres is a writer, artist, illustrator, community worker, health worker, educator and Aboriginal administrator and AustLit shows (even if like me you are not a subscriber) a long list of her publications.

AustLit states that Pat Torres belongs to three Indigenous groups – the Jabirr Jabirr from the north of Broome, the Nyul Nyul from the Beagle Bay area and the Yawuru people from south of Broome, but this belies the complexity of her heritage.

Ngayu ngarrangu jarndu. Ngayu Djugun ngany, Jabirr-Jabirr ngany, Nyul-Nyul ngany, Bard ngany, Yawuru ngany, Karajarri ngany. I am Aboriginal woman. I belong to Djugun, Jabirr-Jabirr, Nyul-yul, Bard, Yawuru and Karajarri. My Aboriginal name is Mamanyjun, which is a red coastal berry (Mimusops elengi) that grows in the rainforest areas of our clan estates in Jabirr-Jabirr country. I am a strong and proud woman from the First Peoples of Australia. I am connected to Djugun, the original people of the Broome region, Jabirr-Jabirr, the original people of regions north of Broome and west of Beagle Bay. I am also connected to the Nyul-Nyul and Bard, who originated from areas north of Broome, and the Yawuru and Karajarri from areas to the south. I am also Scottish, English, Irish, Filipino and Surabaya-Indonesian on my mother’s side. I am approaching mirdanya, elder-status, and am in the ‘autumn years’ of my life. (p.99)

Reading this brief memoir fills me with awe for the richness of this woman’s wisdom.  She tells us, briefly, and without bitterness, that she has had minimal contact with her father’s side of the family so she chooses to be passionate about her Aboriginal family lines, their histories and their knowledge systems.  And she chose to make her lifelong work would be a bridge between the two cultures.

Knowing both Kimberley Aboriginal Australian culture and white Australian culture has meant that my family and I often take on roles that bridge the gap between the two groups. My past careers as a curriculum development officer for the Tasmanian Education Department in Hobart, and with the federal Department of Education and Youth Affairs in Broome, Darwin and Canberra, are examples of this bridging role. Our families, who live at the intersection of so many different identities, have been at the forefront of language, health, education, music, arts and cultural programs. We do this to achieve positive life changes for our extended families and remote communities, as well as to facilitate cross-cultural understandings in the mainstream (p.105)

She writes with love and pride about her children and grandchildren and with generosity about the past:

My life has been an extraordinary one, full of stories of our families’ social and cultural histories, and how we interconnect with Australia’s First Peoples in the Kimberley region, and the Asian and European immigrants who came to live and work in this part of Australia. Many diverse peoples married our womenfolk from the Djugun, Yawuru, Jabirr-Jabirr and other people, thereby creating my descent line of the Torres and Drummond families. I have grown up with a great thirst and hunger for knowledge and am privileged to live in a time when Australian society is more supportive of Australia’s First Peoples, in comparison to the previous generations of my mother, grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

My great-great-grandmother, known as Mary Minyarl, was a Djugun woman from Ngunu-ngurra-gun, now known as Coconut Well, situated north of Broome, Western Australia. She lived at a time when women were kidnapped off the coast, enslaved in chains and forced to free dive for pearl shell for the early master pearlers. Mary Minyarl was removed from her family clan lands in Djugun country, and taken north into Jabirr-Jabirr clan lands to dive for pearl shells. She was also taken south into Yawuru lands along the coast to collect the large pearl shells with other Aboriginal women. These pearl shells created wealth and influence for early colonial families in Western Australia. (p.101)

You can see from this short excerpt that this is a Giveaway worth winning!  But if you want to be sure of a copy, you can buy it direct from Fremantle Press in paperback or as an eBook.


Be in it to win it!  Anyone with an Australian postal address is eligible.  Please indicate your interest in the Comments box below and I’ll select a winner using a random generator round about the middle of next month.

All entries from readers with an Australian postcode for delivery will be eligible but it is a condition of entry that if you are the winner, you must contact me with a postal address by the deadline that will be specified in the blog post that announces the winner.   (I’ll redraw if this deadline isn’t met).

Good luck everybody!

Editors: Susan Laura Sullivan, Maria Scoda, and Jodie Moffat
Title: Women of a Certain Age
Publisher: Fremantle Press, 2018
ISBN: 9781925591149
Source: Review copy of Djana ngayu – Who am I? by Pat Mamanyjun Torres, courtesy of Fremantle Press



  1. Hi, Lisa! I’d love to win a copy of this book. I’m thinking about doing some short story collections in my Australian Literature book group next year, and this one sounds perfect. Here’s hoping!


    • First cab off the rank, let’s hope that brings you luck:)


  2. Yes please. Should be most interesting am sure.


  3. Being a woman of un certain age myself I say yes please!


  4. I’m interested, thanks!


  5. I would of course be interested, Lisa. I loved Purple threads, and would like to see more writing by Leane. I don’t know Torres – but have been to Broome – so that’s two reasons for being interested in her!!


  6. Good luck Laurel and Sue!


  7. Count me in please Lisa 💗


  8. I would love to win a copy. I am a volunteer at the Jessie Street National Women’s Library in Sydney and our workforce comprises ‘women of a certain age’. All our collection has been donated since we began in 1989. I would like to share this book with our book club.


    • Hello Barbara – It sounds like a perfect fit! Good luck:)


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