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Home Books The Archipelago of Us

The Archipelago of Us


By Reneé Pettitt-Schipp

Five years after first living in the Indian Ocean Territories, Reneé Pettitt-Schipp finds herself returning, haunted by memories of the asylum seekers she taught there in Australia’s detention system. Why do the islands still have a hold on her? Why are her memories such troubled ones? And why can she not let go?

Closer to Indonesia than Australia, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are out of sight and out of mind to most Australians, but they are the sites of some of our frontier wars, the places where our identity is laid bare in all its flawed complexity – and the places where there is time and space enough to ask: can we be better than this?

A travel narrative, a memoir and a thought-provoking look at Australia’s complicated history with Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the asylum seekers detained there.

Read Serena Kirby’s review for ARR.News and her author interview with Reneé Pettitt-Schipp:
… a travel narrative that recounts Renee’s 2016 return trip to the Indian Ocean Territories … and it’s hard not to fall in love with the paradise she describes in such exquisite detail

ISBN: 9781760992224
Dimensions: 23.4x15.3cm
Pages: 312
Publication year: 2023
Publisher: Fremantle Press


About the author:

Reneé Pettitt-Schipp is an award-winning writer who lived in the Indian Ocean Territories from 2011 until 2014. Her work with asylum seekers inspired her first collection of poetry, The Sky Runs Right Through Us, published by UWA Publishing in 2018, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize, and won the 2018 WA Premier’s Literary Award for an Emerging Writer. Reneé currently lives and writes in Western Australia’s Great Southern.