Red Can Origami is a tense thriller about beer guzzling, barramundi fishing, and a bitter conflict between a native title group and a Japanese uranium mining company. Fremantle Press are set to publish the book in December 2019.
Red Can’s told from the perspective of Ava, a young journo who’s been working on an English-language newspaper in Tokyo. Ava, ready for a career change, lands a job as a reporter in Gubinge, a tropical town in WA’s north. It isn’t quite as tranquil as she expects. She writes about a child eaten by a crocodile at a popular fishing spot; she’s shot at by a white pastoralist with a savage reputation; she falls in love with Noah, the Aboriginal boss of Burrika, the local native title group. Then she learns about Gerro Blue.
Gerro Blue’s a Japanese-owned uranium mining company that’s bulldozed a Burrika massacre site. The company is not supposed to be exploring on Burrika country, as they haven’t yet secured a native title agreement with the group. Noah’s put in a difficult position—mindful of the dangers of uranium mining, he’s equally aware that an agreement with the company could lift his people out of poverty. But not all his countrymen feel the same way.
Red Can’s a love story and a tragedy. It culminates with a suicide, a cyclone that damages one of Gerro Blue’s tailings dams, and the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
In 2017, I was awarded an Asialink residency, supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts WA, to travel to Youkobo Artspace in Tokyo to work on Red Can full time. While I was in Japan, I also travelled through parts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear exclusion zone. It was harrowing. I wrote an essay specifically about this experience, which was published in Coldnoon International Journal of Travel Writing and Travelling Cultures.