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2019 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

A biography unlike any other, Tracker presents the larger than life figure of Aboriginal leader and thinker Tracker Tilmouth, a charismatic figure who died in Darwin in 2015. Strategist, entrepreneur, political activist, Tilmouth imagined a bright future for Indigenous Australians and dedicated his life to initiatives that would secure their destiny on their terms. 

In a monumental work of collective story-telling that builds in power like a symphonic fugue, Alexis Wright weaves together interviews with the many people who knew Tracker as family, friends and colleagues, to create a thrillingly complex, multi-faceted portrait.

Epic and ambitious, Tracker challenges traditional Western approaches to biography with its non-linear, often digressing multi-voiced collection of anecdotes and yarns, presented as if heard around an endless campfire. 

What emerges is not only a deep, richly layered, often surprising sense of a unique individual, passionately engaged in shaping the  opportunities for his people to thrive and take pride in their identity but also a great chorus of voices, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, recalling a complex, visionary man, singing the songlines of a life, celebrating the resilience  of culture.