Now included in UQP’s First Nations Classics series with an introduction by Melissa Lucashenko, Bitin’ Back is a rollicking comic novel that nimbly blends the realities of small town prejudice and racial intolerance.
When the Blackouts’ star player Nevil Dooley wakes one morning to don a frock and ‘eyeshada’, his mother’s idle days at the bingo hall are gone forever. Mystified and clueless, single parent Mavis takes to bush-cunning and fast footwork to unravel the mystery behind this sudden change of face.
Funny but cleverly covert, too, this is a truthful rendering of small town prejudice and racist attitudes. Hilarity prevails while desperation builds in the race to save Nevil from the savage consequences of discovery in a town where a career in footy is a young black man’s only escape. Neither pig shoots, bust-ups at the Two Dogs, bare-knuckle sessions in the shed or even a police siege can slow the countdown on this human time bomb.
Vivienne Cleven was born in 1968 in Surat and grew up in western Queensland, homeland of her Aboriginal heritage. She left school at thirteen-years-of-age to work with her father as a jillaroo- building fences, mustering cattle, and working at various jobs on stations throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
Her novel, Bitin’ Back, won the David Unaipon Award in 2000, and was shortlisted for the Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award and the South Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction in 2002. Her second novel Her Sister’s Eye was published in 2002 and was chosen for the 2003 People’s Choice shortlist of One Book One Brisbane. In demand at literary events and workshops, Vivienne has published articles and fiction in anthologies, magazines and journals.