Readers explore Australia through books

Readers explore Australia through books Readers in the Vermillion area can learn about life in Australia by participating in the South Dakota Humanities Council Reading Series this fall at the Vermillion Public Library.

The first discussion takes place on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. with second and third meetings on Oct. 3 and Nov. 14.

Readers meet with Jamie Sullivan from Mount Marty College to talk about life in Australia. The discussions will start with My Place by Sally Morgan, followed by The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway. Interested readers can sign up for the free programs at the Vermillion Public Library and purchase books along with a study guide for $10.

My Place tells the story of Morgan's discovery of her Aboriginal roots and gives voice to the stories of her great uncle, mother and grandmother as they recount the struggles they lived with under European domination since 1900.

Morgan began her journey in 1982 to her grandmother's birthplace in a traditional Aboriginal village. The trip turned into an emotional and spiritual journey confronting suppressed history and questions of identity.

The second book, The Road from Coorain, is the narrative of Conway's journey from childhood on an isolated sheep farm in the grasslands of Australia to her departure for America and eventually the presidency of Smith College.

Readers see the profound family tragedies that result from an eight year drought and experience the great stamina that remains despite societal treatment based on gender for Conway and her mother.

A World of Discovery video, Australia's Outback: The Vanishing Frontier, which follows a year in the lives of a current day ranch family, will be shown during the first meeting.

The reading series takes place in 30 South Dakota communities this fall as part of the Humanities Council's "Knowing the World through Reading." An Internet discussion also takes place on the World Wide Web for readers, particularly those outside of communities sponsoring discussions.

For more information on the Reading Series or any other council program, call or write the council at 605-688-6113 or Box 7050 University Station, Brookings, SD 57007 or visit the council website at

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