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The School

Wollongong is a beautiful seaside city nestled between the dramatic Illawarra escarpment and the Tasman Sea, located only an hour’s drive south of Sydney. The City of Wollongong local government area is represented by a Council comprising a Lord Mayor and 12 Councillors. Both the Lord Mayor and the Councillors are popularly elected by people enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll. 

The Project

On June 28, Kirli Saunders provided an overview of the Poetry in First Languages, Dharawal project and shared a poetic reading and reflection for the 120 participants of the WCC Reconciliation Conference. Under her guidance, participants then created collaborative poems, reflecting on their learnings from Elders and community throughout the conference. 

Read the workshop poems here

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman, with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. She currently resides on Dharawal Country. Kirli is an international children’s author, poet and emerging playwright. She manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her picture books include CBCA nominated and internationally published, The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic) and forthcoming, Our Dreaming and Happy Every After (Scholastic) and Afloat (Hardie Grant). Her poetry Collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. She was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018. Her poetry has been published by a number of journals (Cordite, Overland, Planthunter) and commissioned for public art. She is co-writing her first play, Dead Horse Gap. 

In 2019, you can find Kirli at NT Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Enough Said and Word in Hand. She returns as writer in residence at The Literature Centre, Fremantle this year where she will perform The Incredible Freedom Machines with Matt Ottley and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra in rural WA, at Coco’s Island and Christmas Island.