Indigenous Literacy Day (ILD) on Wednesday 5 September will raise funds to increase literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote regions.
Keynote speakers at events in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane include authors Kim Scott, May O'Brien, Sally Morgan, Alison Lester, Kate Grenville and Kaz Cooke, as well as former AFL player Micky O'Loughlin, artist Bronwyn Bancroft and singer-songwriter Felix Riebl.
‘Despite very challenging times, community and bookshop support is really strong this year,’ said Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) executive director Karen Williams. ‘Hundreds of Great Book Swap events involving art galleries, museums, libraries, universities, businesses, schools, publishers and bookshops are taking place all over Australia.’
Williams said one of the major events at the Sydney Opera House included the launch of a new composition/song based on the book The Naked Boy & the Crocodile. The book was first launched in 2011 by Andy Griffiths and features stories written by 13 kids from remote communities across Australia.
Williams expects that over 20,000 school children will participate in Great Book Swaps across the country, which raise money when children swap books and make small donations.
ILF Founder and Riverbend Books owner Suzy Wilson will join ILF ambassador Andy Griffiths at St Peter Claver College in Queensland for a special event involving traditional owners, dance and spoken performances, with 900 children expected to attend.
At Brisbane Writers’ Festival, Griffiths will host a number of workshops and Aboriginal activist Samuel Watson will speak as part of the Musgrave Park and Tent Embassy session.
Illustrators Dub Leffler and Bronwyn Bancroft will talk about the inspiration behind their work and the power of literature at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Indigenous elder Joy Murphy Wandin, ILF board director Kristin Gill, Kaz Cooke and Felix Riebl will talk about how stories have influenced their lives at Melbourne's Wesley College. ‘Students at Wesley have worked hard to fundraise and will make a special donation to the ILF on the day,’ said Williams.
The Western Australian Museum will host an address from Western Australian Governor Malcolm McCusker, museum CEO Alec Coles and TV presenter Narelda Jacobs.
Other major events will take place throughout September including a Great Book Swap with Boori Monty Pryor at the National Library of Australia on 15 September. The Australian Society of Authors will also auction over 100 works of art at ABC Sydney on 25 September for the ‘One Word One Day’ project, with all proceeds going to the ILF.
‘We are immensely appreciative of all the effort and support we've received in organising Indigenous Literacy Day and we hope that it will be a real celebration of literacy, Indigenous culture and the richness of stories and storytelling in our lives,’ said Williams.
Last year the ILF raised $550,000 and hopes to achieve $600,000 in 2012. According to the ILF’s new 2013-2017 Program Strategy, all funds raised this year will go towards a new focus on early literacy and book supply. Results of an evaluation of the ILF conducted by Queensland academics will be released in September.