- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
A Country in Mind: Memoir with Landscape
After a period of loss, and much change, Saskia Beudel began walking. Within eighteen months she had walked in the Snowy Mountains, twice along the south-west coast of Tasmania, the MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs, the Arnhem Land plateau in Kakadu, the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, and in Ladakh in the Himalayas. But she kept returning to the glowing ochre gorges of central Australia.
The book that emerged tells stories from Australia’s desert heart, examines the entanglement of Aboriginal and European cultures, remembers POW camps in Indonesia during World War II, and relives childhood epiphanies in a haunting collection of landscapes while tracing family secrets across the globe.
Saskia Beudel powerfully captures the enigmas of displacement, belonging and the intricacies, often strikingly at odds with one another, of Aboriginal and settler understandings of the desert environment.
Shortlisted – 2016 Adelaide Festival Award for Non-Fiction
Praise for A Country in Mind:
Saskia Beudel has a painterly eye for landscape. A Country in Mind offers an insightful account of Australian places and the lives that traverse them.MICHELLE DE KRETSER
Throughout the book, Beudel uses a technique that approaches – and seems to be trying, humbly, to learn from – Aboriginal ways of seeing country, of the dynamic interrelatedness of people, animals, plants and the land itself, to write her own story.KERRYN GOLDSWORTHY, SYDNEY REVIEW OF BOOKS
Beudel’s account of becoming trapped in a water-filled canyon in the Northern Territory desert is clear-eyed, achingly precise, and beautifully paced. You read it with your heart in your mouth.THE AGE
She brings together a vast amount of research and scholarship with her personal experience of the desert, its peoples and their stories – narrative structures patterned by country rather than plot or character – in a fascinating, thought-provoking, highly resonant amalgam.KATHARINE ENGLAND, ADELAIDE ADVERTISER
Saskia Beudel is an author with a deep, strong connection to the land and its history, finding meaning in landscape that stimulates thought, memories and the need to understand.ELAINE FRY, THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
The Australian outback is depicted with such gorgeous language in Beudel's book that it almost feels as though you're seeing it with your own eyes ... The history and spirituality of the region is the glue that binds this alluring memoir together and turns it into a journey through Australia unlike any other.WORLD LITERATURE TODAY