As part of the ILF’s Create Initiative project, ten young Indigenous women from Tiwi College in the Northern Territory travelled down to Sydney last week to write, edit and publish the third instalment of the Japarrika series. Partnered with Penguin Random House publishers, and our fantastic ambassadors David Lawrence and Shelley Ware, the week was an outstanding success!
The girls arrived on Sunday and met with ILF staff, David, and Shelley at North Sydney’s Luna Park, for a bit of fun before their big week ahead!
David quickly realised he had made a mistake in agreeing to go on a ‘nice quiet ride’ with Bella and Mickey, when he was upside down, inside out and screaming his lungs out within the first fifteen seconds! The girls couldn’t stop laughing!
Monday – A Ton of Work to be Done
Monday was the first big day for the young Tiwi authors, arriving at Penguin Random House at 8:45am.
Everyone signed a team football and promised to work hard to write the best book they possibly could. It soon became evident that they wouldn’t let anyone down!
By the end of the day, the girls had completed a first draft of a massive seven chapters of the ten-chapter book. To make things even more impressive, amazing illustrator, Demega, had produced a dozen eye-catching drawings by the day’s end.
The girls were exhausted, but rightly very satisfied with themselves!
Tuesday – Not a Cruise Day
Tuesday was another big day for the Tiwi authors, as they worked tirelessly to complete the last three chapters, writing a blurb, editing all ten chapters, and creating lots of illustrations.
They worked amazingly as a team and were very proud of themselves.
Afterwards, the team visited the Kinokuniya Bookstore, where copies of the first two Japarrika books were on sale.
The girls must have noticed that David was starting to recover from his trip to Luna Park, so they took him to see a scary movie!
Wednesday – in for Laser Surgery!
Wednesday was another busy day, as the book needed to be finished by lunchtime to ensure it could be printed in time for Friday’s launch. With the help of stellar editor Jess Owen, the girls made their final changes and sent the book off to the printers.
To cap off their final day of work, the girls headed with Shelley and David to laser tag. In a bid to lull the girls into a false sense of security, David purchased a t-shirt that said, ‘Ready to Die.’
Sadly, the girls were not impressed with his shirt, and even less impressed when David told them his laser tag nickname was ‘Notorious’.
“Nah, I think we’ll call you ‘Bait,’” said Ruby.
Needless to say, David did not have the greatest game, as all ten Tiwi girls, despite his advanced age and unbelievable inaccuracy, took no mercy on him at all.
Thursday – Dugongs & Wax Day
Having done all the hard work, the girls had the next day off writing, and headed to the Sydney Aquarium.
There they watched a very cute dugong named ‘Pig’ being patted by its trainer as the crowd made a collective “awwwww” sound. At this point Lindy leaned in and whispered into David’s ear, “You know we eat those on Tiwi!”
The next stop was Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – it was selfie city as the girls put on wigs, hats and scarves and posed with everyone from the ET to Wolverine. The ways these girls looked out for each other and had so much fun was a joy to watch – and also a real credit to their fabulous teachers, Tictac and Ashlee.
Friday – Launching into the Weekend
The girls arrived at Penguin Random House at 9am to prepare for the book launch of Ngiya Yintanga Japarrika (I am the Storm Bird).
The launch started at 11am and it was a very emotional affair. Nearly everyone who spoke had to be handed a tissue – in David’s case he swears it was hay fever.
The girls explained where they came from, talked about the book and read out small sections to a large and enraptured audience. Ambassadors Shelley and David couldn’t have been prouder of the group and their efforts.
The launch finished with the CEO of Penguin Random House, Julie Burland, donating a $100,000 cheque on behalf of the publishing house to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
It was an incredible finish to an absolutely sensational week.