Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction
Indigenous Writers’ Prize
UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
Longlisted for the 2023 Stella Prize
Prime Minister’s Summer Reading List 2022, Grattan Institute
We Come with This Place is a remarkable book, as rich, varied and surprising as the vast landscape in which it is set. Debra Dank has created an extraordinary mosaic of vivid episodes that move about in time and place to tell an unforgettable story of country and people.
There is great pain in these pages, and anger at injustice, but also great love, in marriage and in family, and for the land. Dank faces head on the ingrained racism, born of brutal practice and harsh legislation, that lies always under the skin of Australia, the racism that calls a little Aboriginal girl names and beats and rapes and disenfranchises the generations before hers. She describes sudden terrible violence, between races and sometimes at home. But overwhelmingly this is a book about strong, beloved parents and grandparents, guiding and teaching their children and grandchildren what country means, about joyful gatherings and the pleasures of eating food provided by the place that nourishes them, both spiritually and physically.
We Come with This Place is deeply personal, a profound tribute to family and the Gudanji Country in Australia, to which Debra Dank belongs, but it is much more than that. Here is Australia as it has been for countless generations, land and people in effortless balance, and Australia as it became, but also Australia as it could and should be.
”A jewel of a book” – The Guardian
”The best book I read in 2022. This is a heart-stopping voyage into bush Aboriginal life, philosophy and history.” – Sydney Morning Herald
”To inhabit this vivid place is to be invited into a new understanding of country, culture, family and time. It stuck with me.” – Steph Harmon, The Guardian Australia
Debra Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman, married to Rick, with three adult children and two grandchildren. An educator, she has worked in teaching and learning for many years – a gift given through the hard work of her parents. She continues to experience the privilege of living with country and with family. Debra completed her PhD in Narrative Theory and Semiotics at Deakin University in 2021.