2020

In Your Hands

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What is a poet without an audience? What is a new book without hands to hold it up to the light? The outbreak of COVID-19 has meant the cancellation of live poetry events and writing festivals Australia wide, resulting in many poets and their publishers losing income and key opportunities to showcase new work, not to mention build readerships and celebrate the words beyond print.

To offer a little relief in response to this, Red Room Poetry and Oranges & Sardines Foundation have collaborated to create In Your Hands – a free digital collection featuring 80 poems by poets whose recent, current or forthcoming release has been directly affected by the closure of live events. All poets are paid for their contribution to In Your Hands and the collection encourages audiences to buy copies of the books.

Join the In Your Hands livestream launch, April 30 via facebook and read your copy now.

ABIA 2020 Awards

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Kirli Saunders’ debut poetry collection, Kindred has been shortlisted for the ABIA 2020  Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year Awards alongside:

  • Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia, Darryl Jones (NewSouth Publishing NewSouth)
  • Kindred, Kirli Saunders (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)
  • Paris Savages, Katherine Johnson (Ventura Press, Ventura Press)
  • Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)
  • The White Girl, Tony Birch (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press)

Yahoo Article: Indigenous Females Talk ‘White Feminist Movement’ And If Women of Colour Have Been Excluded Throughout History

What does it mean to be a feminist?

Kirli: It means to advocate for the rights of women and those who identify in any way with the divine feminine to ensure that privileges afforded to other gender identities are afforded to us. It means honouring the feminine in all its forms, in all people, and speaking with that force to protect it. To be a feminist is to walk with all the women, and those identifying as woman who have come before us, so that those who follow can stay true to themselves in a world that accepts and celebrates us… Read more.

Race Matters podcast: Episode 49: Subtle Resistance, Big Gains (with Kirli Saunders)

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Ahead of Blak Matriarchies, a panel as part of All About Women at the Sydney Opera House, Gunai woman Kirli Saunders joins Sara Khan to chat about the power of Language, Blak ownership and empowering First Nations youth with her program Poetry in First Languages.

Listen now.

The Wire: NSW Aboriginal Woman of The Year

International award winning poet and author, Kirli Saunders, has been named NSW Indigenous Woman of the Year.

She manages the Poetry in First Language program delivered by Red Room Poetry.

The program’s aims are to  celebrate, share and preserve knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music, dance and art.

Listen now.

2SER Interview Drive

Growing up Kirli Saunders found herself at the centre of stereotypes. She was used at school as the “poster girl” for Aboriginal culture which caused her to drift away from her cultural roots.

This is a stark contrast to the work and achievements she has pursued today to educate, empower and inspire Indigenous children. She is an international children’s author, poet, playwright and educator. Kirli founded the First Languages program at Red Room Poetry, debuted her first poetry collection called Kindred and on Friday last week was announced as the 2020 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. You can find more of Kirli’s work here.

Listen now.

SBS Article: These young Indigenous women are leading Australia’s creative and sustainable future

As International Women’s Day approaches, SBS News meets three women whose Indigenous identity and thousands of years of passed down matriarchal learning is integral to their cause, be it poetry or the climate… Read on. 

NIT Article: Kirli Saunders wins 2020 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year

But when the Port Kembla woman was named NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year, her attention on Thursday turned to ‘celebrating all the beautiful women who have come before her’…. Read on.

NIT Article: NSW Aboriginal Woman Of The Year Finalists Credits Their Predecessor Matriarchs

A time to celebrate the power, courage and resilience that lives in our women, the finalists for the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year have been announced.

The awards aim to recognise Aboriginal women in NSW who have excelled in their passion, who move towards positive change and who encourage opportunities for mob.

The finalists, Pauline Clague, Kirli Saunders and Ngiare Brown are three of the state’s most recognised and powerful matriarchs… Read on.

All About Women | Blak Matriarchies

Sydney Opera House

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Paola Balla, Amelia Kunoth-Monks & Kirli Saunders

Many believe feminism rolls in waves – but Blak Matriarchy has existed across time. Australia’s First Nation peoples have lived for at least 65,000 years in matriarchal systems, sharing stories, knowledge and songlines. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, grandmothers and aunties are leaders, trailblazers, politicians. Respected elders continue to teach love, justice, how to raise children, how to work, how to survive – and how to resist.

This will be a brilliant conversation disrupting the roots of racism within mainstream feminism, and honouring the wisdom of powerful Blak women. Join this incredible lineup of women from across generations as they pay tribute to the strong women who raised them and the ongoing knowledge passed down the matrilineal line.

Hosted by Aileen Moreton-Robinson.

Book Your tickets

Generation Women | Sydney Opera House

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Kirli Saunders, Dixie Crawford, Jane Caro, Sylvia Kinder, Melina Marchetta and Cynthia Banham

Generation Women founder, Georgia Clark, was moved by conversations with her mother about the feeling of disappearing as an older woman. She was inspired to create a warm and inclusive space where women of all ages could come together to share, celebrate, and learn. Gathering a selection of female voices representing every decade from the 20s through to the 70s, Generation Women is a lively literary salon that celebrates the tradition of intergenerational wisdom.

In this special All About Women edition, our storytellers will share their funniest stories and darkest moments on the theme of power, showcasing the hearts and minds of a wide variety of impressive women. Power dynamics play out in every sphere: from the domestic to the global. As women, we often seek more power and our relationship to it can be fraught.

Hosted by Alice Brennan.

Book Your tickets

NSW Woman of The Year Finalist

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Now in their ninth year, the NSW Women of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women across NSW to industry, communities and society.

The winners of the 2020 Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney on Thursday 5 March.

The NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year recognises Aboriginal women in NSW who have excelled in their chosen career, field or passion. These Aboriginal women are exceptional achievers who have promoted economic, cultural or social opportunities for Aboriginal people in NSW.

NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Finalists include:

Find out More

Tiddas 4 Tiddas Podcast

Storytelling is fundamental to First Nations people. It plays a big part in the handing-down of culture from generation to generation.

Gunai woman Kirli Saunders embodies the tradition of storytelling. She is an award-winning children’s book author, poet, artist and manager of the ground-breaking Poetry in First Languages program at Red Room Poetry.

Kirli joins Marlee to share how she wants to make poetry visible, meaningful, and part of everyday life, especially for the youngest members of First Nations cultures. Listen now.

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