Members of the Katherine-based Big River Hawks Football club will release a new book as part of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s Community Literacy Program.
‘Shock em!’ was written by a group of the team's young players and will be launched on Saturday 23 July at Hawthorn Football Club, Melbourne.
The book is the 44th published by the foundation, which provides writing and illustrating workshops for Indigenous children living in remote and rural Australian communities.
Indigenous Literacy Foundation Lifetime Ambassador and Manager of the Epic Good Foundation, Dr Anita Heiss, ran a workshop with the Hawks footballers over a three day period in Katherine.
Heiss and the Hawks partnered with the Hawthorn Football Club to increase wider engagement and bring the literacy project to life.
Produced in a short time frame, ‘Shock em!’ was created in less than a month with a committed team including Dr Sandra Phillips and a wide range of of designers, and Heiss supporting the writing talent of the young footballers.
‘As football players the Big River Hawks are impressive, but as writers they are deadly!’ said Heiss.
The book is a fictional work, detailing the experience of playing in a Grand Final with Hawthorn and includes personal pieces, where each player depicts significant places in their lives and writes a letter to each of their sporting heroes.
“We are incredibly proud of the result”, said Karen Williams, Executive Director of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
"The ability to be able to tell your story, who you are and where you come from is just as important as playing in a grand final match. These are skills you need for life”
“We learnt so much from reading the book about the boys and their lives and we hope that it has given them a taste of what it’s like to be an author. The ability to be able to tell your story, who you are and where you come from is just as important as playing in a grand final match. These are skills you need for life”.
Heiss, who has authored 15 books, found the experience of working with the young players enriching on many levels.
‘It was an extraordinary experience helping the team translate their love of football into stories which they wrote to share with others. Their passion for the game helped create suspenseful pieces of fiction.
"I believe it was the opportunity to write in a safe space that allowed them to be so productive, and I felt privileged to be part of the process of creating Shock ‘em!”
Shock ‘em! will be launched on Saturday July 23 in Melbourne.
Tune into the Marngrook Footy Show every Thursday from 7.30pm on NITV.