Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Winner of ABIA Literary Fiction of the Year Award 2015 Winner of the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2015 Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013 In Melbourne’s western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.
The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way. The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving . . .
In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. Contains the brand new story ‘Aviation’.
‘Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller, and this collection – written with exquisite sensitivity and yet uncompromising – will stay with you with the force of elemental truth. Clarke is the real deal, and will, if we’re lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come.’ – Dave Eggers bestselling author of A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS ‘FOREIGN SOIL is a collection of outstanding literary quality and promise. Clarke is a confident and highly skilled writer.’ – Hannah Kent, bestselling author of BURIAL RITES ‘An assured and skilful debut’ – Weekend Australian