Paris Savages Author, Katherine Johnson tells us the Books she’ll be Reading Over the Holidays

Paris Savages Author, Katherine Johnson tells us the Books she’ll be Reading Over the Holidays

After being immersed in writing Paris Savages over the last six years, I crave lying back and reading books by other authors over the holidays. At the top of my list are two books I gave to my husband, one for last Christmas and the other for his birthday. The first is Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, which I have read parts of and long to sit down with and properly read from cover to cover. I first heard of this book when Bruce Pascoe was interviewed on Radio National (Conversations) about a large group (350 individuals) of Aboriginal people in the central Australian desert growing and grinding grains from which they made cake, which they served with roast duck to the near starved party of the explorer Charles Sturt. Pascoe writes that Aboriginal Australians were the first bakers in the world, and they were Aboriginal women. The book challenges the ‘hunter gatherer’ stereotype and replaces it with one of villages, an organised economy, of sophisticated cultivation, engineering, dwellings and irrigation systems. My husband absolutely loved Dark Emu and says every Australian should read it.

Next on my list is Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk, which describes applying indigenous ways of thinking in everyday life – and how indigenous thinking can save the world. With the very real threat of climate change, I think we need to look outside the current western mindset to solutions for our precious planet.

I’m also looking forward to reading Favel Parrett’s There was Still Love, which I read an extract from in Island magazine some months ago, and loved. It’s about grandmothers and love, about women holding families together and racism towards migrants to Australia. There are, I suspect, some resonances with my last novel, Matryoshka. The images I read in that extract of a young girl and her love for her grandmother have stuck in my mind. Beautiful.

And then there’s Bruny, by Heather Rose. I spend a lot of time on Bruny, and on boats around it, and for me this one’s a must.

Buy a copy of Paris Savages here.  // Read a review of Paris Savages here.

About the author:

Katherine Johnson is the author of three previous novels: Pescador’s Wake (Fourth Estate, 2009), The Better Son (Ventura Press, 2016) and Matryoshka (Ventura Press, 2018). Her manuscripts have won Varuna Awards and Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes. The Better Son was longlisted for both the Indie Book Awards and the Tasmania Book Prize. Katherine holds both arts and science degrees, has worked as a science journalist, and published feature articles for magazines including Good Weekend. Katherine lives in Tasmania with her husband and two children. She recently completed a PhD, which forms the basis of her latest novel, Paris Savages.

Reviews

An Exquisitely Written Book: Read an Extract From Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson

Review | Extract

16 October 2019

An Exquisitely Written Book: Read an Extract From Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson

    My Favourite Book of the Year: Read a Review of Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson

    Review | Our Review

    15 October 2019

    My Favourite Book of the Year: Read a Review of Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson

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          Synopsis

          ‘This story has its genesis in fact, when three Fraser Island people were taken to Germany in 1882–83. The sole survivor was Bonangera (Boni/Bonny) whose life-size plaster cast remains at the Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France. The silencing that Badtjala people continue to endure in the localised historiography of place is ongoing.’ Dr Fiona Foley, Badtjala artist and academic Fraser Island, 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Müller offers to sail three Badtjala people – Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera – to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people’s plight to the Queen of England.Accompanied by Müllers bright, grieving daughter, Hilda, the group begins their journey to belle-époque Europe to perfom in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing from the oldest culture in the world, the attention is relentless, and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.A story of love, bravery, culture, and the fight against injustice, Paris Savages brings a little-known part of history to blazing life, from award-winning novelist Katherine Johnson.
          Katherine Johnson
          About the author

          Katherine Johnson

          Katherine Johnson is the author of three previous novels: Pescador’s Wake (Fourth Estate, 2009), The Better Son (Ventura Press, 2016) and Matryoshka (Ventura Press, 2018). Her manuscripts have won Varuna Awards and Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes. The Better Son was longlisted for both the Indie Book Awards and the Tasmania Book Prize. Katherine holds both arts and science degrees, has worked as a science journalist, and published feature articles for magazines including Good Weekend. Katherine lives in Tasmania with her husband and two children. She recently completed a PhD, which forms the basis of her latest novel, Paris Savages.Johnso

          Books by Katherine Johnson

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