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The School

Wingecarribee Shire is the local government area of the Southern Highlands. Wingecarribee Shire covers an area of 2700 square kilometres. The Wollondilly and Wingecarribee Rivers flow through the West of the Shire, through deep sandstone valleys and much of this area forms part of the catchment for Warragamba Dam.

The Project

Working with Gundungurra language custodians, Kirli Saunders will lead free poetic language workshops with out of home care students in the local community on the 29th of November at Wingecarribee's Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre in Mittagong. Students will explore connection to country, culutre and language in a range of poetic ways.

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. Kirli is the Manager of Poetic Learning and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison at Red Room Poetry. She was awarded ‘Worker of the Year 2017’ at the NAIDOC awards in the Illawarra/ Shoalhaven region and has been nominated for a National NAIDOC award in 2018. Kirli founded the Poetry in First Languages project. Her first children’s picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines, illustrated by Matt Ottley was selected for Bologna Book Fair and is published internationally. Her second picture book Our Dreaming will be released by Scholastic in July 2019, Happy Ever After will follow in February 2020. Kirli’s First Poetry Collection, Kindred is to be released by Magabala in 2019, it was Highly Commended in the 2018 Black&Write! prize. Kirli’s poem ‘A Dance of Hands’ was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize. Kirli’s poetry has been published by Cordite and Overland and has embedded in infrastructure at Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. In 2018, Kirli will be Writer in Residence at Bundanon Trust, Q Station and The Literature Centre, Fremantle for ‘The Sound of Picture Books’.