2019 saw the second annual Girls Write Now Literary Festival
at St John Fisher College. A week-long festival that celebrates the importance
of literature and sharing of stories as a way of learning and becoming well rounded
This year the festival focused on girls and women of colour
in literature, with various presentation and workshops focusing on song writing,
drawing, writing and creativity. Special guests included performance
poet Anisa Nandaula, singer songwriter Gretta Ziller, playwright, director and
author Claire Christian, YA author Isobelle Carmody, author Simon Higgins,
manga and anime artist Jenny Wang and Children’s book author Jacqui Halpin.
30 students from local
primary school including Norris Road, Shorncliffe, St Kieran’s, St Flannan’s, and
Sacred Heart were invited to join in the festivities at the College. The children
were treated to a storytelling and craft session with author, Jacqui Halpin,
who read her recently published book, ‘Where’s Lucky’ and sent home with a copy
for their school library. The children then participated in a poetry and
creativity workshop with spoken word poet Anisa Nandaula.
To mark the opening of the festival, College Librarian
and English Teacher, Sarah McCallan, spoke passionately to the College about
the importance of the Literary Festival and explained the significance of the
name ‘Girls Write Now’.
“To help explain why celebrating literature is important,
we can turn to the words of literary giants from history themselves she said.
“Salman Rushdie wrote about literature saying ‘Literature
is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in
the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the
tale, of the imagination and of the heart’ ”.
McCallan went on to explain the significance of the festival name ‘Girls Write
“Part of the beauty of literature is to see
ourselves and our lives reflected,
to show us that we belong, it’s important that as girls and women, we also see representations of ourselves in
the books we read, the movies we see,
the music we listen to”.
even more important for women and girls of colour to see themselves reflected in literature; and who is going to do
this, if not us?”
“We need to recognise the worth in our own
stories, the value in our lived
experience, and share these stories and experiences with the rest of the
our festival, Girls Write Now is about just that: the creativity, ideas
and passions of girls and women now,
in Australia, in 2019. Literature is important, and girls are important, and encouraging the voices of young,
diverse women in literature and art of all forms is especially important”.