Literary Festival gives voice to girls

St John Fisher College

Spoken word poet Anisa Nandaula shares her story with primary students at St John Fisher College’s Literary Festival

STUDENTS at St John Fisher College, Bracken Ridge, wrote their own stories when they took part in the second Girls Write Now Literary Festival.

The annual week-long festival celebrated the importance of literature and sharing of stories as a way of learning and becoming well-rounded citizens.

This year the festival focused on girls and women of colour in literature, with various presentation and workshops focusing on songwriting, 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.

The college also invited 30 students from local primary schools including, Norris Road State School, Shorncliffe State School, St Kieran’s School, Brighton, St Flannan’s School, Zillmere, and Sacred Heart School, Sandgate, to join in the festivities.

The excited students were treated to a storytelling and craft session with author, Jacqui Halpin, who read from her recently published book, Where’s Lucky.

They were also presented with a copy of Jacqui’s book for their school libraries.

They then participated in a poetry and creativity workshop with spoken word poet, Anisa Nandaula.

To mark the opening of the festival, St John Fisher College Librarian and English Teacher, Sarah McCallan, spoke passionately 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’.” 

Mrs McCallan went on to explain the significance of the festival name ‘Girls Write Now’.

“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.

“It’s 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 world.

“So, 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,” she said.


St John Fisher students enjoyed the college's Girls Write Now Literary Festival

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