Only being aware of the past
can we understand the present
to live into the future
The radical and idealistic Olive Pink worked on the edge of the
frontier of Australian history through the turbulent first 75 years
of the 20th century. A woman warrior for Indigenous people, she tolerated
no cover-up by individuals, society, governments or the law.
* * * * *
With a meticulously researched, absorbing verse narrative, Colleen Keating
brings Olive Muriel Pink’s significant, neglected history to life with distinctive,
beautiful imagery. In powerful lyrical stanzas, she tells the story of Olive’s struggle
for recognition as a female anthropologist, her life-long work for the rights
of the Warlpiri and Arrernte people she loved and lived among, and the creation
of her arid garden. ‘High on a camel swaying to and fro /with a straight back
and a broad smile / Olive rides into her future.” Olive’s persistence, her triumphs
and her passion for justice make for uplifting and compelling reading.
– Pip Griffin, poet
Olive Pink is one of Australia’s unsung heroines. In this original and
deeply moving biographical verse novel, Colleen Keating enables Olive Pink’s
experiences with Aboriginal people in Central Australia to emerge with
sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, understanding and grace. It is a triumph
for reconciliation and will surely enter the annals of Australian literature.’
– Emeritus Professor Lyndall Ryan AM FAHA
A play, a dance, books, a proposed film, an opera and now a wonderful
narrative poem by Colleen Keating. I wonder what Miss Pink would think
about all this attention – her battles and passions appreciated at last!!
– Dr. Gillian Ward, Curator and author
Olive Pink’s life floats off the page – very much the character I’ve come
to know and admire while translating her experience into music across
this past decade. Colleen Keating gives us a seriously beautiful work
based on research that brings Olive vividly to life. It is wonderful
to see the astonishing story of this Australian woman Olive Pink,
given the attention she so deserves. Such a visionary.
– Emeritus Professor Anne Boyd AM Composer of the Olive Pink Opera
An invaluable and powerful addition to the story of Australian women who
lived their lives working for equality and social justice. A joy to read.
– Elizabeth Keating-Jones MA