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A book in a week: Indigenous students author new tales

Eelemarni Close-Brown -

First Nations students are learning how to tell their stories through an initiative which encourages them to write and publish a book in a week.

Indigenous Literacy Foundation Ambassador Shelley Ware, an educator and AFL commentator, has recently completed an intensive workshop with young female students from Tiwi College.

Over the past few years, in partnership with fellow foundation Ambassador and author David Lawrence, Ms Ware has helped the Tiwi Islands students publish a trilogy called Japarrika, about an Indigenous AFLW player.

"Students come in as students and leave as authors in a week with a published book so it's pretty special to be involved in," Ms Ware said.

"The first day is all about breaking down the setting, characters, plot and getting all of the components of a book together."

When the books are published on the final day of the program, there is a launch for the students-turned-authors.

Ahead of Indigenous Literacy Day on September 6 the foundation has released a teacher guide authored by Ms Ware.

It aims to bring First Nations' storytelling into the classroom to complement the bilingual book Country Tells Us When, written in English and Yawuru languages.

The guide, produced with the support of Australia Post, is encouraging educators to take their students outside and to connect with country.

"It is about making sure that students understand First Nation seasons, country tells us when those seasons have come, it is not like the western idea of a calendar where you have the four seasons," Ms Ware said.

Indigenous literacy is an important cause, she added.

"I see such value in reading, it takes you places in your mind with your imagination, you can become a writer, an illustrator, there are so many different ways in which you can enjoy literacy and I want that for these children."

An event marking Indigenous Literacy Day will be held at the Sydney Opera House on September 6.

Eelemarni Close-Brown - AAP


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