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Maria Tumarkin Maria Tumarkin i(A77419 works by) (a.k.a. Maria M. Tumarkin)
Born: Established: 1974
Former Soviet Union,
Eastern Europe, Europe,
Gender: Female
Arrived in Australia: 1989
Heritage: Russian ; Jewish
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Maria Tumarkin came to Australia with her family from the former Soviet Union in 1989. She is a writer, broadcaster and historian, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne. Her first book, Traumascapes, was shortlisted in the 'First Book of History' category for the 2006 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at Swinbune University of Technology, Melbourne, and in 2018 was teaching creative writing at the University of Melbourne.


Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2020 winner Windham Campbell Prizes Non-fiction
2019 recipient Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships Literature Career Development Grants for Individuals and Groups $9,212
2018 finalist Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Axiomatic Melbourne : Brow Books , 2018 13360818 2018 single work prose

'The past shapes the present – they teach us that in schools and universities. (Shapes?  Infiltrates, more like; imbues, infuses.) This past cannot be visited like an ageing aunt. It doesn’t live in little zoo enclosures. Half the time, this past is nothing less than the beating heart of the present. So, how to speak of the searing, unpindownable power that the past – ours, our family’s, our culture’s – wields in the present?

'Stories are not enough, even though they are essential. And books about history, books of psychology – the best of them take us closer, but still not close enough.

'Maria Tumarkin's Axiomatic is a boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling, reportage and meditation. It takes as its starting point five axioms:

  • ‘Give Me a Child Before the Age of Seven and I’ll Give You the Woman’
  • ‘History Repeats Itself…’
  • ‘Those Who Forget the Past are Condemned to Repeat It’
  • ‘You Can’t Enter The Same River Twice’
  • ‘Time Heals All Wounds’

'These beliefs—or intuitions—about the role the past plays in our present are often evoked as if they are timeless and self-evident truths. It is precisely because they are neither, yet still we are persuaded by them, that they tell us a great deal about the forces that shape our culture and the way we live. 

'Axiomatic is Tumarkin's fourth book of non-fiction, and her most pioneering. Her three previous books, Otherland  (2010), Courage  (2007), and Traumascapes  (2005), have each and all been critically acclaimed and shortlisted for major prizes.

'More than seven full and long years in the making, and utilising her time as a Sidney Myer Creative Fellow, Axiomatic actively seeks to reset the non-fiction form in Australia.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 finalist National Book Critics Circle Awards Criticism
2019 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Non-Fiction
2019 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction
2019 shortlisted The Stella Prize
2019 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Non-Fiction
2019 longlisted Indie Awards Nonfiction
2018 winner Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award
y separately published work icon Otherland North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2010 Z1678849 2010 single work autobiography

'''I left too early, before tanks rolled into Moscow in 1991, and before Gorbachev was put under home arrest in a failed coup. I left before Russia and Ukraine became separate countries, before the KGB archives were opened, before the Russian version of Wheel of Fortune, before the word 'Gulag' appeared in textbooks. I left before Chechnya, before the mass renaming of cities and streets, before you could go into a shop and actually purchase the books of Brodsky, Pasternak and Nabokov. I left too early, I missed the whole point. I was not there when my generation was cornered by history."

'Maria Tumarkin travels with her Australian-born teenage daughter, Billie, back to Russia and Ukraine to have her experience first-hand the seismic shifts of her family's native country. For Maria the trip back is no simple stroll down memory lane. Splintered and scattered across the world, her generation has ended up inhabiting vastly different realities. Along with exploring the political and cultural fallout of a century of turmoil, Maria wanted to bring together the worlds of her mother and daughter - the different continents, histories and experiences they encompassed.

'Before they set off, Maria wistfully imagined her and Billie's hearts beating in unison as they travelled back to a past they could both understand, forging a nearly superhuman bond along the way. But, in Maria and Billie's case, the past was not simply another country, but one that no longer existed.

'Otherland is the story of a six-week trip traversing three generations, three lifetimes and three profoundly different but profoundly interconnected stories of mothers and daughters.' (From the publisher's website.)

2011 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Community Relations Commission Award
2011 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction
2010 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards The Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction
2010 shortlisted The Age Book of the Year Award Non-Fiction Prize
y separately published work icon Courage : Guts, Grit, Spine, Heart, Balls, Verve Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2007 Z1434160 2007 single work autobiography 'Tumarkin mines her own life story to produce a meditation on the courage we need to live our everyday lives. A hybrid of memoir and philosophy, of experience and ideas.' (back cover)
2008 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction
Last amended 20 Mar 2020 10:11:11
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