In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE STELLA PRIZE 2018
Highly Commended in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Shortlisted for the ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers 2018
Shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for a Science Fiction Novel 2017
Longlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2018
Nominated for Ditmar Award Best New Talent 2018
'Artfully combining elements of literary, historical, and speculative fiction, this allegorical novel is surprising and unforgettable' - starred review, Publishers Weekly
'The truth that lies at the heart of this novel is impossible to ignore.' - Books+Publishing
'a skilfully constructed pastiche of colonisation, resistance and apocalyptic chaos with parallels that sit unsettlingly close to home' - The Big Issue
Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.
The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.
This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history. This TERRA NULLIUS is something new, but all too familiar. An incredible debut from a striking new Australian Aboriginal voice.
'A delightfully duplicitous noodle-bender that flips the script on the Indigenous Australian survival narrative.' - Kirkus Reviews
Terra Nullius is witty, weird, moving and original. - Weekend Australian
Set in an Australia that is simultaneously recognisable and bleakly foreign, Coleman's work of speculative fiction tells a story of colonisation and displacement that is both devastating and all too familiar. In our politically tumultuous time, the novel's themes of racism, inherent humanity and freedom are particularly poignant. - Books + Publishing
Noongar writer Claire Coleman's debut novel, Terra Nullius, envisions a continent disturbingly familiar and worryingly futuristic. Disturbing because it opens with a scenario of settler dispossession; worrying because Coleman's stories serve as a critique of recent history and prophesy a "second wave invasion and a post-colonial future". - Sydney Morning Herald
Coleman makes a significant contribution to the emerging body of Aboriginal writers such as Ellen van Neerven and Alexis Wright who write spectral and speculative fiction to critique the vicious fiction of the colonial archive. - Canberra Times
Coleman, a south coast Noongar woman from Western Australia, goes to the heart of Australia's challenge as a nation - how to universalise the experience of Indigenous people, so that it is something all Australians can understand. This is the essence of good fiction: it takes us away from our present reality and into another. - Zoe Pollock, Brisbane Writers Festival
Coleman is unflinching. - Sydney Review of Books
Claire G. Coleman's timely debut is testimony to the power of an old story seen afresh through new eyes. Terra Nullius tells a very familiar tale - with a twist. - Adelaide Review
Terra Nullius takes reader expectations and confounds them, this is not the story you think it is... but at the same time it's all too familiar. - AU Review
Claire G. Coleman is a Noongar writer, born in Western Australia, and now based in Naarm. Her family have been from the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the south coast of WA since before time started being recorded. Claire wrote her black&write! Fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie (2019) was her second novel and in 2021 her acclaimed non-fiction book, Lies Damned Lies was published by Ultimo Press. Enclave is her third novel.