The Yield


Shortlist year: 2020

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: Hamish Hamilton an imprint of Penguin Random House

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life was spent at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on his people's language and everything ever remembered.

August returns home for her grandfather's burial wracked with grief and confronted with the news Prosperous will be repossessed. Her quest to save their land leads her to her grandfather's voice and into the past.

'The Yield' is the story of a people and culture dispossessed, a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

About the author

 Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia and based in France. Her first novel, 'Swallow the Air', was critically acclaimed, winning numerous literary awards. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. In 2008, Tara was mentored by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her story collection 'After the Carnage' (2016) was longlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for fiction, and shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier's Christina Stead prize for Fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for a collection. 'The Yield' won the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award and within the 2020 NSW Premier's Literary Awards has won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the People's Choice Award and Book of the Year.

Judges’ comments

Moving between the past and present, 'The Yield' is the powerfully moving story of a Wiradjuri family from the township of Massacre Plains. Most arresting is the voice of Albert Gondiwindi, whose story is told through entries in his dictionary of Wiradjuri words. That he is now dead, with his long-absent granddaughter August returning home for his funeral, does nothing to diminish the extraordinary reach of his words that leap from the pages, inviting the reader—all readers—to form their sounds and learn their meanings.

Observant and unflinching, Winch deftly intersperses the narrative with letters of a good-hearted, long-deceased church minister as she explores the tragedy of Wiradjuri children removed from their families and homes. Never didactic, Winch carefully and lovingly brings to life the story of a fractured family and their fight to retain their culture, their language and their land. A lyrical and generous writer, Winch's prose shimmers through this extraordinary tale of cruelty, dislocation, love and resilience.