written by Hannah Rachel Bell
Cambridge University Press | ISBN 9780521759960
Paperback – 262 pages
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What do the artistic works of acclaimed author Tim Winton and eminent Ngarinyin lawman Bungal (David) Mowaljarlai have in common? According to Hannah Rachel Bell they both reflect sacred relationship with the natural world, the biological imperative of a male rite of passage, an emergent urban tribalism, and the fundamental role of story in the transmission of cultural knowledge. In Bell's four decade friendship with Mowaljarlai, she had to confront the cultural assumptions that sculpted her way of seeing. The journey was life-changing. When she returned to teaching in 2001 Tim Winton's novels featured in the curriculum. She recognised an eerie familiarity and thought Winton must have been influenced by traditional elders to express such an 'indigenous' perspective. She wrote to him. This resulted in 4 years of correspondence and an excavation of converging world views - exposed through personal memoir, letters, paintings and conversations and culminating in Storymen.