Ngiya Yintanga Japarrika By Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga

Students from the Tiwi Islands, eighty kilometres north of Darwin, have collaborated with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, Penguin Random House Australia and co-authors David Lawrence and Shelley Ware to create a new illustrated book, Ngiya Yintanga Japarrika, ‘My Name is Japarrika’. Japarrika means the Storm Bird.

It follows the story of Kay-Bell who moves from the Tiwi Islands to Melbourne to play AFLW for the Essendon Bombers VFL. She will be representing her home, her culture and her family.

Kay-Bell already knows one of her roommates, Sam, who she realises will make living and playing together tough. Kay-Bell can speak Kriol with her other roommate, Molly who comes from Katherine and they share a love of hunting. But training and her first games are difficult because she has trouble understanding and meeting the team’s expectations.

Game descriptions are given, including the best game of Kay-Bell’s life. However, this is spoiled when a spectator yells out a racist comment. She is deflated but supported by the club, friends and family and remembers that she is Japarrika, the strong Storm Bird.

Kay-Bell’s voice is authentic, and language such as Kay-Bell’s aunty being jana (sick), is incorporated into the text.

Penguin Random House Australia have sponsored the project through a very generous $100,000 donation.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this initiative, particularly to the young Indigenous women from Tiwi College who wrote and illustrated the book.


Media Release $100,000 donated to Indigenous Literacy Foundation programs in remote Australia

Penguin Random House Australia (PRH) has once again raised $100,000 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) to support the work they do to help raise literacy levels and make a difference to the lives of young readers and families in remote Indigenous communities across Australia.

PRH has a deep commitment to supporting the ILF, making a substantial donation each year and partnering with them to undertake the hugely successful Tiwi Create Initiative. For the third consecutive year, this ground-breaking program sees eleven female students from Tiwi College travel to PRH in Sydney. They will work with a PRH editorial team, ILF staff and ambassadors Shelley Ware and David Lawrence to write, illustrate and publish a book within the space of a week. It is an intense yet creative storytelling experience that leaves the students feeling confident about themselves and proud to have the opportunity to share stories that reflect their cultural heritage.

Penguin Random House donates all profits from the sale of the published book to Tiwi College and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Leonie Short, ILF Program Manager, says, ‘We are enormously proud of the Tiwi College girls’ talent and hard work which results today in a fabulous story and YA trilogy. This series follows the story of a young girl who dares to dream, overcomes enormous challenges and achieves her ambitions. Importantly it shares a lot about Tiwi culture and everyday life with all readers.’

Karen Williams, Executive Director of the ILF, says, ‘It is a real privilege to have the long-term and continued support and passion of the largest publisher in Australia. The significance of this relationship is reflected, not only in what we are able to achieve working together, but in the impact of our programs. This is clearly demonstrated today in the remarkable achievements of these young women and authors. Not every author can write and illustrate a book in a week! That certainly wouldn’t happen without the support and care of the PRH team.’

Julie Burland, PRH Australia’s CEO, is passionate about the work that the ILF does. Julie says, ‘It is our absolute pleasure each year to host a cohort of Tiwi College students at Penguin Random House and to spend time hearing their stories and seeing the thrill of each student holding a finished book at the end of the experience. The ILF is an important charitable partner of ours and as a company we are delighted to support, both financially and in-kind, the incredible work that they do in remote communities.’

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