I’m sitting on the couch watching the AFL Grand Final as I write this, and I’m sick. Chest infection, head cold and fever. It could be from germs I picked up at the gym, or through the aircon on the planes I’ve been on, or it could be related to a certain level of exhaustion I’m feeling from being on the road for what seems like forever!
BUT – the exhaustion comes with a set of experiences and memories that I am most grateful for, and here are some from the past two weeks that I’ll keep forever.
Brisbane, September 18: A day visit to St Rita’s College in Brisbane welcomed me into the world of the Presentation Nuns and a school community rich with beautiful, polite, conscientious women in their final weeks of school. I was there to talk about my writing journey with the aim of assisting the Year 12 students with a journalism assignment on Australian women with purpose. I’m grateful for the interest the school took in my work and my story and for the opportunity to introduce students to organisations like the Indigenous Literacy Foundation as part of my Ambassadorial role. The pic above is just a small group of the larger collective I spoke to. Thanks ladies, and good luck with your exams!
With the gorgeous Tania McCartney and Canberra Readers' Festival
I took the stage alongside the awesome and widely read Melina Marchetta (is there anyone in Australia who hasn’t heard of Looking for Alibrandi?) and we had a good yarn, facilitated by 666ABC Canberra Louise Maher. I’d try and write a blog about the inspiration born out of speakers on the day like the deadly Kate Grenville, alas ACT Ambassador for the national Year of Reading, Tania McCartney has already done the job – and more than thoroughly. You can read it here and see her above with me fooling around in the Green Room. And more coverage can be found at Whispering Gums.
A big shout out to those readers who came and had a yarn and got a book signed and to Dymocks (Canberra Centre) for coming along to sell all our books.
Thank you to Sue Box and all the team for putting readers first with this event! You all rock!
Sydney, September 23: I took the day off and spent a couple of hours at my favourite beach, my temple, my haven: Maroubra (pictured above). I don’t really feel like I’m grounded back in Sydney unless I see the sea, so a morning walk and then donning the bikini (for the first time in about 25 years!) and I was feeling pretty damned happy with myself. Bonus of the day was catching up with my tidda Ashlee Donohue (pictured with me below at the Deadlys two days later).
Sydney, September 25: Always love getting frocked up for the biggest celebration of success in Indigenous Australia. This year’s Deadly Awards at the Sydney Opera House was no different and a huge shout out to Gavin Jones and all his crew at GJC for pulling together another memorable event. Congratulations to Ali Cobby Eckermann for her award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature for her book Ruby Moonlight. I’m in awe of Ali’s writing (I hope I can write like that when I grow up!).
With my sista the Deputy Sheriff Sonja Stewart
John Paul Janke - the male version of me, at the Deadlys!
Melbourne, September 26: Well I was a little overdressed as I entered the offices of seek.com.au on Wednesday. I had no idea the headquarters of Australia’s #1 on-line employment agency would be such a funky working environment staffed by socially aware and very groovy young people. And within minutes of my arrival I was warmly welcomed and quickly pictured myself working in the hospitable, friendly space. Chandeliers, colourful beanbags, lunchtime speakers. Wow! Beats working by myself in Rosebery with plain white walls and only myself to talk to.
Milton, Martin and staff from seek.com.au
Seriously, I was grateful for the opportunity to sit alongside one of our nation’s best journalists Martin Flanagan (the ‘literary sports writer’ as I like to think of him), as we yarned together about my latest book Am I Black Enough For You? which attempts to simplify the complex issue of Aboriginal identity in the 21st century. A huge shout out to Milton Walters from Project Collaboration Pty Ltd, Partner of 4Projects and Lorena Healey from seek for coordinating the event (one of a series aimed at informing staff about Indigenous issues).
This is how you do a book signing at seek!
Melbourne, September 27: I was grateful I attended the announcement of the AFL Woman of the Year at the Crown Palladium in Southbank. As part of the annual Essendon’s Women’s lunch and comedy debate, the accolade went to....drum roll please... my dear sista Belinda Duarte who runs KorinGamadji Institute and Chairs the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (of which I am a board member). Table 87 added more than colour (sorry for the pun) to the event as we cheered the house down when our friend and colleague took to the stage and delivered a respectful, inclusive and uplifting speech.
NASCA Board member Sonja Steward with our Chair and AFL Woman of the Year, Belinda Duarte!
Highlights of the day, other than the above include: meeting comedian Lehmo (he’s a bit of a spunk, isn’t he?) and making the winning bid in the silent auction for the Carmen’s muesli package (it was a gift for a friend, that’s all you need to know!).
It was also great to meet Jason Mifsud (AFL Community Engagement Officer) and talk about his work with young people. Hoping we can marry literacy and footy somehow in the future.