In this Conversations from Byron podcast, Mirandi Riwoe speaks with Melanie Cheng about her experience of researching and writing about the Australian gold rush. They discuss Chinese-Australian history and its place within our broader colonial literature, and explore how stories like this one can help bring the once invisible and voiceless to the forefront of our imaginations.
About the book
Family circumstances force siblings Ying and Lai Yue to flee their home in China to seek their fortunes in Australia. Life on the gold fields is hard, and they soon abandon the diggings and head to nearby Maytown. Once there, Lai Yue gets a job as a carrier on an overland expedition, while Ying finds work in a local store and strikes up a friendship with Meriem, a young white woman with her own troubled past. When a serious crime is committed, suspicion falls on all those who are considered outsiders.
Evoking the rich, unfolding tapestry of Australian life in the late nineteenth century, Stone Sky Gold Mountain is a heartbreaking and universal story about the exiled and displaced, about those who encounter discrimination yet yearn for acceptance.
Thanks to Delta Kay, Arakwal Bundjalung woman, for the Welcome to Country on this podcast.
Mirandi Riwoe’s novel Stone Sky Gold Mountain won the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, 2020. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction.
Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner based in Melbourne. Her debut short story collection, Australia Day, won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction and her debut novel, Room for a Stranger, was longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin.
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