From Carpentaria

The fire spread out the back of the hangars in the dry grass, and then it came burning around to the front again, fanned by a gusting south-easterly wind. Then, the monster smelt the spilt fuel on the ground. It raced through that, quickly spreading itself over the ground weeds, until it found the fuel bowsers, then it paused, maybe the fire had thoughts of its own and could not believe its luck. e fire just sitting there was as awesome a moment you could experience for our men waiting in the hills, sneaking a glance from over the boulders they were hiding behind, peering through the black smoke, thinking maybe their luck had run out and what next.



Alexis Wright, Carpentaria, Giramondo, Artamon, NSW, 2006, pp. 410–13.
Printed with permission from the author and publisher.

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. She is the author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria (Giramondo, 2006) and The Swan Book (Giramondo, 2013), as well as works of non-fiction. She currently holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.