Transformation and Collaboration in the Paratexts of Australian Indigenous Children’s Literature
This paper explores a transformed vision of the paratext that enacts literary legitimation and the formation of cultural capital in Australian Indigenous children’s books. The paratext refers to a set of devices such as a preface, a dedication, front/back cover blurbs, which serve to frame the text into a book and justify the value of the text. The paper examines two editions of Arone Raymond Meeks’ picture book Enora and the Black Crane, published by Ashton Scholastic in 1991 and Magabala Books in 2009 respectively, showing that the paratext could be transformed into a territory where Indigenous writer and publisher manage to seize the authorial control by re-investing Aboriginal storytelling traditions and reorienting the cultural capital accrued through the institutional legitimation for Indigenous interests. It also considers Bronwyn Bancroft’s Possum and Wattle: My Big Book of Australian Words (2008), to examine the ways in which Indigenous writers identify the marginalised paratext as a space to articulate their collaborative voices to a public readership.