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.
Twelve diverse writers reveal another Australia hidden behind, beneath and beside the country we think we know.
A suburban psychic’s ominous warning. A conversation in Yuwaalaraay. A glimpse of a shameful, hidden history. A love that moves a mountain. In this unwavering follow-up to After Australia, twelve more boundary-pushing Indigenous writers and writers of colour show us all that is and could exist in our versions of Australia.
Featuring Shankari Chandran, Osman Faruqi, Declan Fry, Amani Haydar, Shirley Le, L-FRESH the LION, Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Omar Musa, Sisonke Msimang, Sara Saleh, Nardi Simpson and Anne Marie Te Whiu.
Another Austrlaia is opublished by Affirm Pres and Sweatshop
UTS COPYRIGHT AGENCY WRITER IN RESIDENCE 2022
Earlier in the year Nardi was incredibly excited to accept the UTS Copyright Agency Writer in Residence Award. The program is run by the Creative Writing department in partnership with the Copyright Agency’s cultural fund. Over the course of the program, Nardi will be working on her second novel The Bellbird. This story centres around the titular Bellbird, a young Koori woman living on the streets of modern-day Sydney. The character is inspired by Dilboong, the daughter of historical figures Woollarawarre Bennelong and Barangaroo. As part of the Creative Writing department, Nardi will also give guest lectures and be available for consultation with students in various writing programs at UTS. You can read more about the residency here.
Nardi was also thrilled to be one of three speakers - along with Dr Jackie Huggins and Ali Cobby Eckermann- to deliver the 2022 Sydey Writers' Festival Opening Address. You can listen to the speech here.
There are also some wonderful talks and events coming up including a special storytelling event with James Valentine suspended over the Blue Mountains in a cable car!. Check out the events section to see what's on in your neck of the woods soon.
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.
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
Here you can explore recent podcasts, guest articles, interviews and revies and online content to do with Song of the Crocodile.