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English: Unit 3 & 4 : Foreign Soil

Analysing arguments and presenting a point of view

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian writer and slam poet of Afro-Caribbean descent. Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the 2013 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award, the 2015 Indie Award for Debut Fiction, and the 2016 ABIA Award for Best Literary Fiction. Her latest poetry collection Carrying The World (Hachette) was released in May 2016, and her memoir The Hate Race (Hachette) will be published in August 2016. She writes for the Saturday Paper.

Over the last decade, Maxine has performed her poetry across Australia, including at the Melbourne Writers Festival, Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne (Hamer Hall).

Resources in the Library


Critical Reviews

Maxine Beneber Clarke: "At first her work was rejected, but then she won an award" Jane Sullivan. Sydney Morning Herald may 3rd, 2014

Background information to the text

Winner: Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist 2015 Literary Fiction Of The Year, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) 2015 Debut Fiction, Indie Book Awards 2015 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013 Shorlisted: ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers 2015 UTS Glenda Adams Debut Fiction, NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2015 The Stella Prize 2015 Longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2015 'Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller, and this collection - written with exquisite sensitivity and yet uncompromising - will stay with you with the force of elemental truth. Clarke is the real deal, and will, if we're lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come.' - Dave Eggers bestselling author of A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS and many more. 'Foreign Soil is a collection of outstanding literary quality and promise. Clarke is a confident and highly skilled writer.' - Hannah Kent, bestselling author of BURIAL RITES 'an assured and skilful debut' - WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN In Melbourne's western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories. The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way. The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving ...