UQP acquires Indigenous academic and writer Amy Thunig's debut
UQP is delighted to announce that we have acquired world rights to Indigenous academic, writer and media commentator Amy Thunig’s first book, Tell Me Again, about her somewhat unconventional and complex upbringing.
This collection of personal essays reflects upon Amy’s journey through childhood and adolescence, growing up at the fraught intersection of endemic poverty and intergenerational trauma, in a family with parents struggling with heroin addiction and incarceration, and how this was interwoven with love, joy and the support of her wider community.
In Tell Me Again she explores how the cohesive power of extended family and community, and warmth and happiness, can and do co-exist in spaces which are so often dehumanised and erased; how life can still feel rich and have beauty, even when things are, in many ways, terrible.
Amy Thunig says of this book: ‘As a light-skinned Indigenous woman, when I began appearing on television and building a profile, I anticipated people questioning my Indigeneity and I was ready to respond to that. What I hadn’t anticipated was the difficulty people would have with accepting that during my life I have experienced homelessness, and that my childhood was one that included poverty, an incarcerated parent, community housing and other elements that come with being raised by people struggling with addiction.
I began to realise that the idea of what “success” looks like in our broader society doesn’t include people who have been raised in poverty; such stories are only acceptable if I loathe my parents, if I resent my childhood. But I am grateful for my family: I have been raised in and with great love; people are multi-faceted and addiction is far more complex than many are ready to consider. I haven’t attained the life I now live in spite of my upbringing, I have attained it because of it.
I write these stories with the full support of my family, and my hope is that by sharing these moments of great learning from my life, readers will better understand and recognise the humanity of those, especially children, who exist in these very difficult spaces, while they are still there, not only when they are viewed as having “risen” above it all.’
Publisher Aviva Tuffield says: ‘When I first started speaking to Amy Thunig about working on a book together, I was aware that she was the first in her family to go to university but not much more than that. When she mentioned, in passing, that she’d had an interesting childhood and shared a few stories, I began to realise just how inspiring – and engaging – Amy truly is.
Tell Me Again is a book about love and resilience, and the importance of culture and extended family networks, in the face of poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. It’s also about the power of stories to shape and sustain us even when they involve hardship and struggle. Like Amy herself, Tell Me Again is full of warmth and humour, and devoid of self-pity and bitterness.’
Amy Thunig is an academic in the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University, where she is also undertaking a PhD in education with a focus on Sovereign/Indigenous women in academia. A Gomeroi/Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi woman, in 2019 Amy gave her TEDx talk ‘Disruption is not a dirty word’. Amy is also a freelance media commentator and panelist, writing for publications such as Buzzfeed, Sydney Review of Books, IndigenousX, The Guardian, Junkee, Women’s Agenda and regularly appearing on programs such as ABC’s The Drum to discuss education, politics, and Indigenous-specific matters.