Leonie Norrington

Is a creative writing PhD candidate at Charles Darwin University in north Australia. She is writing a historical novel set in Makassar and north Australia set in the 1600s. At this time, people and items of trade moved from Australia to Makassar and fro from there to China and the Middle East. Leonie has published sixteen books, most of which have been shortlisted for, or won, major Australian literary awards. She grew up in southern Arnhem Land on a remote Indigenous community and writes in a mix of English, Kriol and Indigenous languages. Being brought up in a mixed cultural environment, Leonie is interested in the places where cultures and languages meet, especially how people use language and story to bridge cultural differences or to make statements about their separateness. Her thesis aims to investigate how artistic licence as a privilege of power, perpetuates the positional superiority of Western epistemology. She questions whether, against the weight of Australia’s colonial past, steeped as it is in subjugation, appropriati and displacement, it might be possible, through literature, to normalise Aborigina Australian knowledges and present an alternative history of Australia. Leonie has presented at writers; festivals in Australia, Indonesia, India and the Edinburgh Book Festival.

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