*Shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2022: Indigenous Writers' Prize, presented biennially
In this unique and highly entertaining autobiography, Alf Taylor chronicles his life growing up in the infamous New Norcia Mission, north of Perth in the fifties and sixties.
At once darkly humorous and achingly tragic, God, The Devil and Me tells of the life and desperation of the young children forced into the care of the Spanish Nuns and Brothers who ran the Mission. Their lives made up of varying degrees of cruelty and punishments, these children were the 'little black devils' that God and religion forgot. Written with an acerbic and brutal wit, Alf intersperses dark childhood memories with a Monty Pythonesque retelling of the Bible, in which Peter is an alcoholic and Judas is a good guy.
As a child, underfed, poorly clothed and missing his family, Alf sought refuge in the library in the company of Shakespeare and Michelangelo. He writes with joy about the camaraderie of the boys, their love of sport and their own company, but also notes that many descended into despair upon leaving. Most died early. Alf Taylor is one of the 'lucky ones'.
'At once horrific and hilarious, this little black devil has created a work unique not just in Aboriginal writing, but in Australian literature altogether.' - Dennis Haskell, Australian poet, critic and academic