Tara June Winch: The Blood in Your Words

Tara June Winch’s third novel The Yield begins with an invitation for the reader to take language into their mouths, to savour rolling the letters around and the sound that they produce: ‘I was born on Ngurambang,’ Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi says. ‘– can you hear it? – Ngu-ram-bang. If you say it right it hits the back of your mouth and you should taste blood in your words.’ Before Europeans colonised Australia, more than 250 distinct languages were spoken there. The Yield tenderly celebrates one of them: Wiradjuri, spoken by the people who have lived on country now known as New South Wales for more than 60,000 years. The winner of the 2020 Miles Franklin Award – Australia’s most prestigious literary prize – Winch reminds us that ‘there are a thousand battles being fought every day because people couldn’t forget something that happened before they were born’. The result is a triumphant, deeply moving book which fully deserves a wide audience in the northern hemisphere. Join Winch for a wide-ranging discussion about language and country, remembering and resistance.

This event was filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival and the participants took part remotely.

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