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Identity, imagination, and perseverance were the tenets of author talks at Wenona for Book Week 2017 based on the theme ‘Escape to everywhere’
Slam poet Manal Younus told our Senior and Middle School students that she uses her poetry and spoken performance to both discover and strengthen her identity as well as to spark thought and discussions among others. A Muslim of Eritrean origin, she began writing and performing slam poetry at 15. Manal’s slam poetry is like a rap battle and she encouraged the girls to click their fingers when they liked what they heard. The clicks multiplied at ‘the burden is not who you are, but who you are asked to be’, from her poem Women.
Australian-born, Muslim-Palestinian-Egyptian-choc-a-holic, Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Sydney lawyer who finds time to write novels for young adults on themes of identity. Her first novel, Does My Head look big in this? was started when she was in Year 9 and features a Palestinian-Muslim-Australian teenager learning about who she is and who she wants to be as a person of faith and cultural authenticity. Randa talked to students in Years 4,5 and 6 about her inspirations.
“There are no limits to our imagination - inspiration is everywhere,” she said.
Randa encouraged them to persevere: her first novel was rejected many times yet she returned to it after her law studies, re-wrote it and it launched her writing career.
Years K-3 students were amazed when Frane Lessac told them that, at their age, she wasn’t the best in the class at writing nor at drawing nor painting … yet now she is the author and/or illustrator of about 40 children’s books. In her Book Week visit to Woodstock, Ms Lessac told our girls “when you love something, you want to tell everyone, and a book is a good way of doing it - so use textas, crayons paints, collage and, most importantly, your imagination.” Frane then read aloud her book The Greatest Liar on Earth: “A True Story” on which she collaborated with Mark Greenwood.
Meanwhile in the Library, a literary quiz raged mid-week, attracting about 50 students who teamed in their respective Houses to compete. Messiter won with a score of 18.5 (out of 21) and the other houses scored around 14 on questions including on books themed on House colours, such as Yellow by Megan Jacobson and Deep Blue, a series by Jennifer Donnelly