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Amnesia Road

Landscape, violence and memory

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*Winner of the 2021 Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award*

*Winner of the 2021 Queensland Literary Award for Non-Fiction*

*Shortlisted for the 2021 NSW Premier’s History Awards, Australian History Prize*

At both ends of the world, I have found confusion and profound disagreement about how to read the story of the past, about who should write or speak it, and what parts of it should be written or spoken about at all.'

Amnesia Road is a compelling literary examination of historic violence in rural areas of Australia and Spain. It is also an unashamed celebration of the beautiful landscapes where this violence has been carried out. Travelling and writing across two locations – the seldom-visited mulga plains of south-west Queensland and the backroads of rural Andalusia – award-winning Australian Hispanist Luke Stegemann uncovers neglected history and its many neglected victims, and asks what place such forgotten people have in contemporary debates around history, nationality, guilt and identity.

'This book will come to be regarded as a classic of Australian literature.' — Nicolas Rothwell

'Daring and original: an eloquent and moving meditation on place, memory and history.' — Mark McKenna

'Amnesia Road swept me away in lyrical storytelling, though veiled inside is a brutally complex shared history exposing the deliberate annihilation of the relationship between landscapes and their kin. Stegemann has lifted the dark shadowy veil of this denial, invisibility and silence to shift the direction of historical redemptive memory so the action of healing can begin.' — Brook Andrew

'Luke Stegemann explores with extraordinary tenderness and understanding the aftermaths of the frontier massacres in Australia and the atrocities of civil war Spain. He offers new insights about amnesia and the forgetting of the violent past and sets a roadmap to acknowledge and come to terms with the past. A brilliant achievement.' — Lyndall Ryan

'In this absorbing meditation on spectacular beauty and unfathomable cruelty, Luke Stegemann seamlessly joins his passionate love of two soils, Queensland in Australia and Andalusia in Spain. Amnesia Road displays that combination of warm empathy and cool appraisal essential in the best kind of history.' — Frank Bongiorno

'By turns beautiful and shocking, Stegemann's book reflects with a coolly objective, emotionally spare voice on the murderous pasts of Andalusia and south-west Queensland. Amnesia Road probes, with sharp intelligence, what history looks like when it can't be remembered and what it means to remember the otherwise forgotten dead.' — Francis O'Gorman, Saintsbury Professor of English Literature, University of Edinburgh

'...a stimulating take on Australian history, one with which anyone interested in reconciliation should engage.' — Jeff Sparrow, Saturday Paper