Flourishing in Country: An Examination of Well-Being in Australian YA Fiction

  • Adrielle Britten
  • Brooke Collins-Gearing
Keywords: anti-colonialism, Indigenous Australians, schemas and scripts, well-being, YA fiction


This article is the result of a collaboration between two academics—one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous—to investigate the representation of Indigeneity in two contemporary YA novels. Melissa Lucashenko’s killing Darcy is narrated by multiple Indigenous and non-Indigenous characters, whereas Clare Atkins’s Nona and Me is told from the perspective of a white character and explores her relationship with an Indigenous community. Cultural identity forms a significant part of well-being, and this article investigates versions of sufficient well-being. It explores how the novels represent flourishing subjects—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—in the context of Australia as it struggles to come to terms with its colonial past and demonstrates how cognitive mapping replaces damaging colonial assumptions about Indigenous Peoples with a model of overcoming.

Author Biographies

Adrielle Britten

Adrielle Britten is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Macquarie University in Australia, from which she holds a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature. Her research focuses on representations of the flourishing child in fiction for children and adolescents and engages with the broader field of well-being studies.

Brooke Collins-Gearing

Dr. Brooke Collins-Gearing has Murri heritage and grew up in Kamilaroi country. She teaches Children’s Literature, Aboriginal Literature and Critical Reading and Writing within the discipline of English and Writing at the University of Newcastle, Australia. A focus of her research is on engaging with Aboriginal ways of knowing through the study of literature.

How to Cite
Britten, A., & Collins-Gearing, B. (2020). Flourishing in Country: An Examination of Well-Being in Australian YA Fiction. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 12(2), 15-39. Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/552