A celebration of literature, St John Fisher College in Brisbane has held its second annual Girls Write Now Literary Festival.
The week-long event celebrates the importance of literature and sharing of stories as a way of learning and becoming well rounded citizens.
In 2019 the festival focused on girls and women of colour in literature, with various presentations 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 schools including Norris Road, Shorncliffe, St Kieran’s, St Flannan’s, and Sacred Heart were invited to join in the festivities at the College. Students were treated to a storytelling and craft session with Ms Halpin, who read her recently published book Where’s Lucky, and were given 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.
“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?
She said it was important 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.”