Aboriginal author adds to life story with top literary award

    01 January 1990

    Eminent Aboriginal author and historian Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi has been honoured with the 2005 Australia Council for the Arts Writers Emeritus Award.

    The $50,000 Writers Emeritus Award, the richest and most established career achievement prize in Australian literature, will be presented at a ceremony today as part of Sydney Writers Festival.Australia Council for the Arts CEO Jennifer Bott said the Writers Emeritus Award recognised Dr Langford Ginibi's lifelong contribution to Australian literature which has spanned autobiography, history and politics.

    'Over the past thirty years, Dr Ruby Langford Ginibi has changed the face of autobiographical writing in Australia. She has used the spark of her own life story to deliver a fiery condemnation of many of the injustices of Australian society,' Ms Bott said.

    'Anyone who has read Dr Langford Ginibi’s groundbreaking Don't Take Your Love to Town can testify to the power of her stories in giving readers insight into the unique experiences of Aboriginal women.'

    Noted for her representations of urban Aboriginality, Dr Langford Ginibi is the author of four non-fiction books, as well as numerous essays, poems and short stories.

    Her major works include the groundbreaking Don't Take Your Love to Town (1988) an account of the struggles faced by Aboriginal women; a collection of short stories Real Deadly (1992); her account of her return to her birthplace on the north coast of NSW My Bundjalung People (1994); and the story of experiences of her son and other Aboriginal men in custody Haunted by the Past (1999).

    'As a proud elder of the Bundjalung nation in northeast NSW, I have spent the past 30 years educating white and multicultural Australia about Aboriginal history, culture and politics. It is an honour to be recognised by this award,' Dr Langford Ginibi said.

    The Australia Council for the Arts Writers Emeritus Award is one of the highest honours in Australian literature. It recognises the achievements of Australian writers over the age of 65 who have made an outstanding contribution to the field and created an acclaimed body of work.

    The Emeritus Award has a long tradition of recognising the eminent Australian writers, having antecedents in the Commonwealth Literary Fund’s award created in 1908. Past recipients include Vince Serventy, Dorothy Hewett, Bruce Dawe, Judith Wright McKinney and Dr Margaret Scott.

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