An odd-couple story—a friendship between two musicians stuck in an immigration detention centre. There’s the drummer who loves rock ‘n’ roll and the guitarist with a passion for Cat Stevens. Their discord becomes a key, unlocking the deep frustration and aimlessness both men feel. And Linda Jaivin finds just enough dark humour to save them from oblivion.
Linda Jaivin is a writer, translator and cultural commentator. She is the author of eleven books and a frequent contributor to respected publications, including The Monthly. Her first novel was the comic-erotic international best-seller Eat Me. Her seventh and most recent novel is The Empress Lover.
Her non-fiction includes Confessions of an S&M Virgin and the China memoir The Monkey and the Dragon as well as Beijing, which has just been published as part of Reaktion Press’s Cityscopes series. She is also a literary translator from Chinese, specialising in film subtitles, and an editorial consultant to the ANU's Australian Centre on China in the World.
Between 2001 and 2005, Linda regularly visited asylum seekers at Villawood Detention Centre where she helped some to draft appeals on their cases to the minister for immigration.
At the heart of Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah is the relationship between an aunt, Sarrinah, and her niece, Shafana. Both devout Muslims, the younger woman wants to put on a headscarf, the older woman tries to dissuade her. For Sarrinah, the hijab represents a world from which she has escaped; for her niece, Shafana, it is a personal statement of renewed faith.
Alana Valentine is one of Australia’s most renowned and respected playwrights. Her work for the stage includes Grounded, Cyberbile, Run Rabbit Run, Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor, Watermark, Swimming the Globe, The Conjurers, Comin’ Home Soon, Dead Man Brake, Singing the Lonely Heart and Savage Grace.
Her writing has been awarded many times, including the Queensland and NSW Premier’s Awards, five AWGIE awards, including the inaugural David Williamson Prize and the Major AWGIE in 2013, the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, a residency at the Banff Playwrights Conference in Canada, the ANPC/New Dramatists Award, a Churchilll Fellowship, a Centenary Medal and an International Writing Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. In 2012 she won the prestigious STAGE Award—judged by Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights and Nobel Laureates—for her play Ear to the Edge of Time.
Dr. Christina Ho reads her introduction to Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah. It’s called Creating Identity in a Hostile World. Dr. Ho researches migration, multiculturalism and the politics of diversity, focusing particularly on the experiences of Muslim Australians and the Chinese diaspora.