Siv Parker was Indigenous X host from December 13 to December 19, 2013.
Five questions to Siv
I worked for 30 years all over Australia, and then walked away to a quiet spot and sat down to write a book. My works are contemporary, my focus is social realism and I wanted to leave stories for my son’s son, and everyone who comes after me. And there was a list that I wanted to be on, a long list of Aboriginal writers who follow the tradition of thousands of years of storytelling. My manuscript won the David Unaipon Award in 2012.
I was fortunate there was a prize to win that year, following the Premier’s axing of the Literary Awards. Frank Moorhouse called his award that year “the most noble prize to win because it’s the citizens’ prize” and I’m also honoured because of the hundreds of supporters who value literature – books and stories – just as much as I do, to be awarded the Uaipon Award amongst the suite of the inaugural Queensland Literary Awards.
I recently turned my hand to screenwriting and producing documentaries; and I’m learning from some exceptional talent in the Indigenous arts world, who have inspired me to one day direct my own stories. My first published work is a short story in next week’s Review of Australian Fiction, alongside an eminent and multi award winning Indigenous writer I have long admired, and my mentor, Bruce Pascoe.
Encouragement from people like Leesa Watego, who created @deadlybloggers, have enabled me to make connections all over the world, and I’ll be holding some “in Twitter conversations” with Indigenous people from the US, Canada and New Zealand, as well as anyone else who’s interested and welcome to join. And I will be sharing a yarn or two along the way.
I am the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter of a family of 18 children. That’s a lot of family who back me to try my hardest. My mother taught herself to read with a copy of Anne of Green Gables, took us abroad and all over Australia, and taught her children that they could be whatever they wanted to be.
I owe many things to another person who shares much of our mother’s humility, kindness, intelligence, guts and determination, my sister Kirstie Parker. Writers need someone to encourage them and she always has, even before I wrote my first word.
I’ve worked with and watched many hardworking talented people in every industry and sector, from one side of Australia to the other. I’ve had a lot of trust put into me to work alongside Aboriginal people to claim their land, look after their children, and heal their communities. I want history to include Aboriginal peoples’ place in this country’s prosperity. In writing for anyone who pauses to hear one of my stories, I’ve found my way to do that.
My hopes are that everyone who comes after me has an interesting life, they see many things, go where they want and be who they want to be. So they will have stories to tell the ones who come after them. Stories that tell us even from the most humble beginning, any Aboriginal person can reach for the stars.