An Afternoon with Claire G. Coleman

On Sunday, October 8th at 2pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Emily Carr University of Art and Design in welcoming bestselling and award-winning author Claire G. Coleman.

“Coleman’s targets in Enclave are clear: racism, homophobia, transphobia, inequality – all enabled, amplified, by an atomised, consumerist society. … ‘Aboriginal people live in a dystopia every day,’ Coleman told the Guardian in 2017; as she wrote in Lies, Damned Lies, ‘the apocalypse is not coming, the apocalypse has begun.'” — The Guardian

About the author:

Claire G. Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar woman whose ancestral country is on the south coast of Western Australia. Born in Perth she has spent most of her life in Naarm. She writes fiction, non-fiction and verse and has been extensively published.

Her debut novel Terra Nullius was published by Hachette in Australia and Small Beer in the US and was listed for over 15 awards. The Old Lie (Hachette 2019) is her second novel. Lies Damned Lies: A Personal Exploration of the Impact of Colonisation, her first nonfiction book, was published in September 2021 by Ultimo Press and won the 2022 University of Queensland Non Fiction Award. Enclave (Hachette 2022), her third novel, was long listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

About the moderator:

(coming soon)

About the books:

Terra Nullius (Small Beer Press, 2018)

Terra Nullius (def): land belonging to no one; no man’s land

“Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.”

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to bring peace to their new home, and they have a plan for how to achieve it. They will tear Native families apart and provide re-education to those who do not understand why they should submit to their betters.

Peace and prosperity are worth any price, but who will pay it? This rich land, Australia, will provide for all if only the Natives can learn their place.

Jacky has escaped the Home where the Settlers sent him, but where will he go? The Head of the Department for the Protection of Natives, known to Settlers and Natives alike as the Devil, is chasing Jacky. And when the Devil catches him, Sister Bagra, who knows her duty to the ungodly, will be waiting for Jacky back at Home.

An incendiary, timely, and fantastical debut from an essential Australian Aboriginal writer, Claire G. Coleman.

Do you recognize this story? Look again.

This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history books. This Terra Nullius —shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize and Highly Commended for the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards — is something new, but all too familiar.

Enclave (Hatchette Australia, 2023)

‘These are troubling times. The world is a dangerous place,’ the voice of the Chairman said. ‘I can continue to assure you of this: within the Wall you are perfectly safe.’

Christine could not sleep, she could not wake, she could not think. She stared, half-blind, at the cold screen of her smartphone. She was told the Agency was keeping them safe from the dangers outside, an outside world she would never see.

She never imagined questioning what she was told, what she was allowed to know, what she was permitted to think. She never even thought there were questions to ask.

The enclave was the only world she knew, the world outside was not safe. Staying or leaving was not a choice she had the power to make. But then Christine dared start thinking . . . and from that moment, danger was everywhere.

In our turbulent times, Claire G. Coleman’s Enclave is a powerful dystopian allegory that confronts the ugly realities of racism, homophobia, surveillance, greed and privilege and the self-destructive distortions that occur when we ignore our shared humanity.


This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.