Born Into This

Born Into This

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Age Book of the Year award, Finalist
* An American Bookseller’s Association Indie Next pick for “Great New Reads” for August

The remarkable stories in Born Into This are eye-opening, razor-sharp, and entertaining, often all at once.


From an Aboriginal ranger trying to instill some pride in wayward urban teens on the harsh islands off the coast of Tasmania, to those scraping by on the margins of white society railroaded into complex and compromised decisions, Adam Thompson presents a powerful indictment of colonialism and racism.

With humor, pathos, and the occasional sly twist, Thompson’s characters confront discrimination, untimely funerals, classroom politics, the ongoing legacy of cultural destruction, and — overhanging all like a discomforting, burgeoning awareness for both black and white Australia — the inexorable disappearance of the remnant natural world.

"With its wit, intelligence and restless exploration of the parameters of race and place, Thompson’s debut collection is a welcome addition to the canon of Indigenous Australian writers."
—Thuy On, The Guardian

* Age Book of the Year award, Finalist!

* Born Into This is an "Indie Next Great Reads for August" pick from The American Booksellers Association (ABA)!

"Born into This presents a masterful delineation of culture and identity... Thompson interrogates the irrevocable and ongoing impact of colonization on his community with charm, wit, and humor."
—Gauraa Shekhar,The Rumpus

"[Born into This is] a potent collection by an author who mined the richness of both his ancestry, his work within the Aboriginal community and his island home for tales about black and white relations, colonialism, class friction, racism and the despoilment of heritage and environment... With its wit, intelligence and restless exploration of the parameters of race and place, Thompson’s debut collection is a welcome addition to the canon of Indigenous Australian writers."
—Thuy On,The Guardian

"A short story collection reminiscent of the work of Black American author Edward P. Jones... These stories are touching precisely because they are so familiar. That they tell the stories of people from Australia makes no difference. People realize the need to find ways to reclaim their histories. Through agriculture, by storytelling, through activism, and most importantly by living free lives. Thompson shows us how artfully."
—Donna Ledbetter, Short Story Book Club

"Thompson portrays a group of Aboriginal communities in Tasmania in his riveting debut collection... The author movingly describes their resilience, whether facing aggressive storms or the terror of colonization."
Publishers Weekly

"Some stories are morbidly comic while others cut deep, conveying the absurdity and despair of Indigenous experiences of settler-colonialism across Tasmania."
—Tristen Harwood,The Saturday Paper

"This collection of Indigenous resistance, triumph and joy stands alongside millions of stories throughout this country, first spoken, then written, since time immemorial."
—Raveena Grover, Kill your Darlings

"This remarkable debut crackles with wit and rage — as entertaining and affecting as it is thought-provoking."
—Stella Charls, Readings

"A new collection of short stories addresses the universal themes of identity, racism and heritage destruction."
—Dana Anderson,The Examiner

"Born Into This represents the emergence of a fresh and vital voice on the Australian literary scene. Indigenous writer Adam Thompson expertly combines wit and pathos in his debut short story collection. With stories from a diversity of perspectives, but bound by its Tasmanian setting, Thompson’s mastery over his characters and sensibility for contemporary issues makes this a special collection."
Happy Mag, Best New Books of 2021

"Piercing. At times funny. Real. Raw. Straight up truth. Stories that urge the reader to reflect, to look inward. .. This book is a gift."
—Blackfulla Bookclub

Born Into This includes a range of stories that highlight the racism and oppression that many different First Nations people face in our current day, while also making the reader pause and think about the reality of these fictional stories… It is a stunning collection from a talented and compelling debut author. Thompson has given Australia a new voice to listen to and learn from in 2021.”
—Lauren Pratt, Underground Writers

“The Tasmanian landscape and a whole host of engaging, charming and well drawn characters populate the stories that make up Born Into This… a wonderful reminder that there is no monolithic Aboriginal Australian… a thought provoking collection, and hopefully a conversation provoking collection too.”
—Simon Clark,The AU Review

“It’s not often a new literary voice seems to spring full formed from a world so unique and yet so achingly recognisable, and it’s a voice with its own gravitas and unique vision. A debut collection that leaps from the starter’s gate.”
—Cate Kennedy, author of The World Beneath

“I knew from the first page that Born Into This was going to be something special. Adam Thompson is a world-class writer whose stories strike like lightning.”
—Ellen van Neerven, author of Heat and Light

“The lives of the characters within these pages provide an honest, humorous and occasionally raw insight into the experiences of living in a country, and on Country, both shared and in contest. Thompson is a writer who knows that the way to our hearts and heads is through powerful storytelling. He delivers on every page, with each word.”
—Tony Birch, author of The White Girl

“A compelling new voice, tough yet tender, from the heart of Aboriginal Tasmania.”
—Melissa Lucashenko, author of Too Much Lip

“Adam Thompson’s stories from Aboriginal Tasmania are as beautifully written as they are evocative. Here is an outstanding new talent. Born Into This is compelling reading.”
—Bob Brown, author of Memo for a Saner World

Born Into This is drenched in swagger and originality, the blows are head-on, but the comfort is swiftly delivered in the wit and delicacy of Thompson’s phrasing. He has the reader in the boat, on the shore and drowning in the sea at once.”
—Tara June Winch, author of The Yield

About the Author

Adam Thompson is an emerging Aboriginal (pakana) writer from Tasmania, who writes contemporary short fiction. In 2016-17, Adam received writing awards through the Tamar Valley Writers Festival and the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival. Adam has been awarded a First Nations Fellowship at Varuna - The Writers House, several Arts Tasmania grants, and was one of ten recipients of The Next Chapter initiative through the Wheeler Centre.