About the book

Taboo tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar's descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded. He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife's dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations.

Book cover - taboo by Kim Scott.
Published by: 
Pan Macmillan

About the author


Kim Scott is a multi-award winning novelist. Benang was the first novel by an Indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin Award and in 2011 That Deadman Dance also won the Miles Franklin Award, among many other honours. Proud to be one among those who call themselves Noongar, Scott is founder and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Story Project, which has published a number of bilingual picture books. He received an Australian Centenary Medal and was 2012 West Australian of the Year. He is currently Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University.

Author - taboo by Kim Scott.

Judges’ comments

In his ambitious third novel, Taboo, Kim Scott attempts a fictional act of reconciliation on West Australian land scarred by a historic massacre of Indigenous people. Members of the Noongar community return to honour the ghosts of their dead ancestors and to meet land owners who may still wish them ill. At the centre of the story Tilly, a teen-age girl, seeks to understand her complicated heritage. Scott writes with urgency about his people's need to reclaim their land, history and language while recognising their place in contemporary Australia. The novel is a skillful blend of fable and thriller, Dreamtime magic and Canterbury Tales road trip. Goodwill and brutality wrestle for dominance among a band of vivid and sometimes comic individuals who represent the complexity of human nature. Taboo is a haunting, original and important contribution to Australian literature.