A tough Kimberley tale of resistance wins most underrated book of 2018

Author Frank Byrne.

A memoir by the late Frank Byrne, a member of the Stolen Generations, has been named the most underrated book of 2018.

The Small Press Network, which represents independentpublishers in Australia and New Zealand, awarded the book the Most Underrated Book Award, which is sponsored by the Australian Booksellers Association.

It is the first time an Indigenous Australian author and a memoir have won the award.

Mr Byrne’s son Trevor accepted the award for his father at the SPN Independent Publishing Conference in Melbourne.

Frank Byrne was born at Christmas Creek in Western Australia’s north in 1937. He was moved from place to place after being taken from his mother, a Gooniyandi woman.

Living in Hope is a record of his childhood determination in the face of harsh and unjust treatment.

“It is very important for people to learn what happened back in them days, the way the government system was authorised to take kids away from their parents,” Trevor Byrne said.

“People need to learn from that history. The MUBA win gets our dad’s story out there and people need to understand his story doesn’t just reflect what happened to Aboriginal people here, but what has happened to Indigenous peoples across the world.”

Mr Byrne’s co-authors Gerard Waterford and Frances Coughlan said Mr Byrne wanted his story recorded for history.

“He was absolutely outraged by John Howard and others making claims that children were being rescued not stolen,” they said in a statement. “That was painful for him to hear.”

“That denial of truth was a reason why he was driven to have this story out. His story and stories like this are really important.”

Mr Byrne died of cancer in October last year.

Living in Hope (RRP $15) is published by Ptilotus Press.

By Wendy Caccetta

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3 Comments on A tough Kimberley tale of resistance wins most underrated book of 2018

  1. Just ordered this in from Gleebooks – so glad that awards like this raise important work to the attention of people (like me). We should hear about his writing on the national news feeds.

  2. Yes more stories like this of our people should be put out there for people to read and for generations to come.
    Thank you for those who played a big part in encouraging uncle to write this book. I was only in Magabala bookshop few weeks ago to buy uncle’s book.
    How true that our people worked so hard without pay from sunrise to sunset seven day a week.
    No wonder the stations around the country are not working.
    Our people are not given the chance to be employed.

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