My favorite book of 2022. I love her tangible evocative landscapes and her humorous warts and all realism when it comes to sharing insights within the sticky mire of cultural preservation. The Man in the Log story is the most incredibly telling experiment where indigenous people are encouraged to think in their own languages aided by interpreters with the most extraordinary outcomes. This book encompasses the crazy impossible task of reconciliation as well as the revelatory inspirational outcomes that emerge from the commitment to trying.
To essay means to try, to endeavour, to attempt - and to risk failure. For Kim Mahood, it is both a form of writing and an approach to life. In these finely observed and probing essays, award-winning artist and writer Kim Mahood invites us to accompany her on the road and into the remote places of Australia where she is engaged in long-established collaborations of mapping, storytelling, and placemaking. Celebrated as one of the few Australian writers who both lives within and can articulate the complexities and tensions that arise in the spaces between Aboriginal and settler Australia, Mahood writes passionately and eloquently about the things that capture her senses and demand her attention - art, country, people, and writing. Her lyrical evocation of desert landscapes and tender, wry observations of cross-cultural relationships describe people, places, and ways of living that are familiar to her but still strange to most non-Indigenous Australians.
At once a testament to personal freedom and a powerful argument for Indigenous self-determination, Wandering with Intent demonstrates, with candour, humour, and hope, how necessary and precious it is for each of us to choose how to live.
'Wandering with Intent rises beacon-like from turbulent ground. Characterised by rare grace and care, and often unfurling into beauty, Mahood's essays are essential- anyone driven to understand how the faultlines between black and white Australia might shape us for the better should read this book immediately.'
-Quentin Sprague, author of The Stranger Artist, winner of the 2021 Prime Minister's Literary Award for nonfiction
'This collection of essays, some previously published, on the enigma of cross-cultural consciousness is a master class on unravelling complex issues in fluently lucid prose ... The compassionate intelligence of these essays underpins literature's redemptive arc.'
-Ian McFarlane, The Canberra Times
'No one writes about walking the swaying tightrope between remote First Nations and non-Indigenous worlds better than Mahood ... she has little time for apologetic hair-tearing, finding meaning in enduring personal relationships and environmental connection, deep respect for Country and suspicion of those outsiders, black and white, who claim to know what is best for community people. Every big-hearted city-dweller planning to visit or work in a remote community should be required to read Mahood. She is provocative and profound.'
-Michael Winkler, The Sydney Morning Herald