The second of our shortlisted authors for the Editia Prize is freelance writer and former social worker Carly Lorente. Read on for an extract from her entry, Minyma, and a little more about Carly herself.
The following passage is excerpted from Minyma with the permission of the author …
She smiles bravely again, and the scar on her right cheek is emphasized, a result of her most recent beating, where he’d kicked her face repeatedly as he pulled her down from the noose she made. The day after the last court hearing. She couldn’t even kill herself without his permission.
“Rikina. You look nice.”
I’d never seen her out of basketball shorts; today she wore a long black and white floral skirt.
“Sorry business for my uncle. When the rain come he could make it stop,” she smiled, that pretty white toothed smile.
The day we sat under the bottlebrush tree, the ants at our bare feet on the beat-up couch at the Women’s Shelter, she hadn’t been smiling. As sad and battered women walked by, she told me how she’d nearly died as a baby from too much milk, how she’d nearly died again when her mum was hit by lightning as she breastfed her.
She told me how she was born in Port Augusta where her parents were drinking, and where she eventually went into foster care herself, but didn’t like the white family she lived with. Her mother lives in Adelaide now and still drinks.
When M—– was 15 years old, in the state’s care she followed her cousin to Mutitjulu and was given her first drink. Not long after that, when she was in the state’s care, she met N——– there and left school.
Whilst still in the state’s care, at 16 years old, she fell pregnant to him. Around this time he went to prison for sexually assaulting a tourist who had wandered off from her group at Uluru, to where he was swimming in a nearby waterhole whilst his three year-old nephew watched. He pleaded guilty.
She can’t remember the first time N—— hit her. I know her well enough now to know that she doesn’t’ want to know. The Gordon Inquiry found that Indigenous women are 45 times more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous women, and six times more likely to be sexually abused.
About the author
After trying her hand at naturopathy, fashion styling, and social work, Carly Lorente began a career as a freelance feature writer and photographer. She has been published in various local and international titles including The Sunday Telegraph SUNDAY magazine, Mindfood, Green, Wellbeing, Pacific longboarder and Summer Winter covering indigenous issues, culture, fashion, surfing and travel.
She is also a contributing author to the book Lines Of Wisdom (Affirm Press 2008).
Carly currently lives in Northern NSW with her French husband and their soon-to-be two year-old son, and 13 chickens.