*Shortlisted for the SPN Book of the Year Award 2020* Nganajungu Yagu is dedicated to Papertalk Green's mother, and is built around selected correspondence between Yagu and Daughter. It gently reminds us of the sacrifices made by our matriarchs over time. Each letter and response provide not only a 'mark of existence' for the writer, but a medium for mother / daughter to connect while at a distance. The love and respect penned here will inspire readers to think about the ways we should engage people we love through words. This revival of letters not only reminds me of the nearly lost art of letterwriting, but the impact one has on its receiver.
'Forty years ago, letters, words and feelings flowed between a teenage daughter and her mother. Letters written by that teenage daughter - me - handed around family back home, disappeared. Yet letters from that mother to her teenage daughter - me - remained protected in my red life-journey suitcase. I carried them across time and landscapes as a mother would carry her baby in a thaga.
In 1978 - 79, I was living in an Aboriginal girls' hostel in the Bentley suburb of Perth, attending senior high school. Mum and I sent handwritten letters to each other. I was a small-town teenager stepping outside of all things I had ever known. Mum remained in the only world she had ever known.
Nganajungu Yagu was inspired by Mother's letters, her life and the love she instilled in me for my people and my culture. A substantial part of that culture is language, and I missed out on so much language interaction having moved away. I talk with my ancestors' language - Badimaya and Wajarri - to honour ancestors, language centres, language workers and those Yamaji who have been and remain generous in passing on cultural knowledge.' - Charmain Papertalk Green