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Tripping Over Feathers: Scenes in the Life of Joy Janaka Wiradjuri Williams

Peter Read

Terrifying in its harrowing honesty, Tripping Over Feathers examines the life of one woman; removed at birth from her mother, placed in a home for white girls and who later came head-to-head with the NSW State Government. The book charts in reverse chronological order the abuse, anger, violence and mental illness definitive of the lives of many of the victims of Australia’s Stolen Generation.

Moving from Joy’s untimely death in a Primbee flat, to the ten years she spent pursuing a negligence claim against the NSW Government, through two lost appeals and on to the beginning of her life, Read takes us on a mesmerising and evocative journey that offers a rare historical insight into institutions, street life and indigenous and urban culture between 1942 and 2006.

Written in a poignant new biographical style of writing, Read often employs Joy’s own words and incorporates many of her poems throughout the novel to confront the reader with a dynamic depth of narrative.

Peter Read


Peter Read has chaired the internationally respected journal Aboriginal History for 17 years, and edited many of its productions. In 1980 he co-founded the globally emulated organisation Stolen...

More about Peter Read »


AUD$32.95 / NZD$45.95


Paperback, 235 x 155 mm
300 pages





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