Official Website of Yuwaalaraay storymaker
Winner of the 2018 Black&Write Fellowship
RELEASED 29 SEPTEMBER 2020
SONG OF THE CROCODILE
"Darnmoor, The Gateway to Happiness. You feel some sense of achievement; that you have reached a destination in the very least. Yet, as the sign states, Darnmoor is merely the measure, a mark, a point on the road you begin to move closer to where you really want to be. Darnmoor itself is nothing."
Darnmoor is the home of the Billymil family, three generations who have lived in this 'gateway town'. Race relations between Indigenous and settler families are fraught, though the rigid status quo is upheld through threats and soft power rather than the overt violence of yesteryear.
As progress marches forwards, Darnmoor and its surrounds undergo rapid social and environmental changes, but as some things change, some stay exactly the same. The Billymil family are watched (and sometimes visited) by ancestral spirits and spirits of the recently deceased, who look out for their descendants and attempt to help them on the right path.
When the town's secrets start to be uncovered the town will be rocked by a violent act that forever shatters a century of silence. Full of music, Yuwaalaraay language and exquisite description, Song of the Crocodile is a lament to choice and change, and the unyielding land that sustains us all, if only we could listen to it.
2021 Miles Franklin Award
2021 Stella Prize
2021 Australian Book Industry Awards - Literary Fiction Book of the Year
2021 Victorian Premiers Literary Awards- Indigenous Writing
2021 MUD Literary Prize
2021 New South Wales Premiers Literary Awards - New Writing
2021 Indie Book Awards- Debut Fiction
GIFTS ACROSS SPACE and TIME
Journeying together in speak/listen trade
As the world teeters between old and new ways of doing, can we remake the balance between what we need and what we nurture? Can we forge a new equilibrium to sustain us into the twenty-first century?
Having challenged so much – social practices and social structures, habits of mind and habits of leisure – will the pandemic leave a lasting legacy on how we shape the world? Griffith Review 71: Remaking the Balance examines how our natural, economic and cultural systems might be refashioned post-pandemic: will it be a return to business as usual, or can we reinvent our relationship with all that is animal, vegetable and mineral to create a more sustainable future?
Edited by Ashley Hay, Remaking the Balance looks at how we can do more with what we have, and features leading writers and thinkers, including Nardi Simpson, Gabrielle Chan, Clare Wright, Matthew Evans, Sophie Cunningham, Inga Simpson, John Kinsella, Declan Fry, plus an exclusive Q&A with Barbara Kingsolver.
We are incredibly pleased to announced that Song of the Crocodile has been awarded for the 2021 ALS Gold Medal. This is Australia's oldest literary award and was inaugurated by the Australian Literature Society in 1899 and incorporated into the Association for the Study of Australian Literature in 1982. A huge thankyou goes to ASAL and all that helped get the story made and into people's hands. The judges citation is as follows:
"Song of the Crocodile follows three generations of the Billymil family living in Darnmoor which is harsh and inhospitable for the Yuwaalaraay people who live at the campgrounds out of town. The narrative moves between different temporal zones and planes, intertwining the spiritual dimension and the earthbound struggles of Tom, Celie and their descendents to survive endemic violence and prejudice. When the town creates a levee bank to protect it from rising waters, excluding the campgrounds, the song of Garriya the crocodile harnesses the elements, ushering in chaos and destruction. In its evocation of place and familial relationships, formal innovation, experimentation with language and ambitious reach, Nardi Simpson’s first novel is a breathtaking achievement."
Nardi is incredibly excited recieve the University of Queensland Fiction Book of the Year Award. Winners were announced via live stream on 9 September 2021. It was a wonderful night for First Nations Writers as well! You can read an article here by the National Indigneous Times on First Nations winners and work for the 2021 Queensland Literary Awards. The judges citation is as follows:
"A breathtaking debut novel about Aboriginal sovereignty, survival, strength, and connection. We follow the Billymil family and their ancestral guides as tensions in the local town of Darnmoor threaten their way of life. Written with lyrical, evocative beauty and tremendous heart. Destined to be a classic."
IN THE PRESS
Rich, complex characters who’ll stay in your thoughts long after you’ve closed the book, a gripping story that moves effortlessly through time and space, and a voice suffused with music and warmth. SONG OF THE CROCODILE is a moving, wise, deeply rewarding novel from an astonishing writer.
Simpson doesn’t shy away from the complexity and nuance of the characters, who are at once survivors, victims and perpetrators of trauma grounded in dispossession and injustice. However, nor does she deny these characters joy and meaning in their lives – bringing their stories to the page with great tenderness and lyricism. This book is necessary reading for all Australians.
It’s hard not to drown Song of the Crocodile in awed praise but this book deserves every skerrick of hype. That it is Simpson’s debut feels like a magnificent question: what else might she bring us? For now, just surrender to her storytelling, rich with Yuwaalaraay language and song.
AUTHOR OF AN INSOLATED INCIDENT
STELLA PRIZE JUDGES' REPORT
Image by L.Simpson
Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller and performer living in Sydney. Her early music training at the Eora Centre of Aboriginal Studies, Visual and Performing Arts in Redfern, Sydney saw her begin a career as a musician, songwriter and performer with vocal duo Stiff Gins, travelling both nationally and internationally for twenty-one years and releasing three albums during that time.
Nardi's writing journey in 2014 participating in Indigenous Writers’ Mentorship Programs with Writing NSW and FATSIL Young Indigenous Writers Initiative. In 2016 , as part of Liveworks Festival, Nardi co-wrote and performed in the theatre work ‘Spirit of Things: Sound of Objects.’
In 2018 Nardi received the State Library of QLD’s Blak&Write Indigenous Fellowship and began refining what was to become her debut novel 'Song of the Crocodile'. In 2019 Nardi wrote and premiered her debut play ‘'Black Drop Effect,’ for the 2020 Sydney Festival. In early October 2020, 'Song of the Crocodile' was released with Hatchette Australia.
Nardi continues to perform with Stiff Gins, works with student ensembles and directs cross-cultural choir Barayagal at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is currently undertaking a PhD with the ANU School of Music. Heavily involved in the making and sharing of culture in both her Sydney and Yuwaalaraay communities, Nardi lives in Sydney's Inner West with her partner and teenage son.
Here you can explore recent podcasts, guest articles, interviews and revies and online content to do with Song of the Crocodile.