2022 - Shortlisted
The Kindness of Birds collects 14 subtly linked stories centring around two women, Remy and Nenita, and their extended kin — family, friends, co-workers, neighbours — in Australia and the Philippines. Through stories spanning cultures and species, past and present, this generous and richly lyrical collection introduces us to the Filipino practice of kapwa — care and kindness — that, ideally, extends to the human and non-human in times characterised by large and small, planetary or domestic violence.
This work is an utterly distinctive, timely reminder of the possible ways of paying attention to our lived and remembered lives: the missives of kindness and connection that surround us as creatures whose experiences and knowledges intersect in deeply historical, familial or fictional ways. A variety of birds and kindnesses weave their way through this collection, amid war, pandemic, isolation, grief, illness and death, building towards an urgent choric invitation to hold ourselves open to beauty, wisdom, care and joy.