Three Katherine students enjoyed a taste of fame today at the launch of their debut novel Damo Makes His Mark.
As film crews, photographers, Hawthorn football players and excited students from Macfarlane Primary School congratulated the young authors on their work, they said they were “proud” to have their story come to life.
Katherine High School Clontarf students Damien Joshua, 16, Henry Driver, 15, and Brenton Brooking, 17, were just three of the seven authors at today’s book launch.
And as the book was a joint project between the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, Clontarf and the Hawthorn Football Club, three senior list players were invited to the launch as special guests.
Jarman Impey, Conor Nash and Matthew Walker travelled from Melbourne to the Top End to read a few chapters of the new book; the Macfarlane students were overjoyed to say the least.
Comedy writer and children’s author David Lawrence mentored the budding young authors through the process of writing the book last year.
The students, who are part of the Katherine High School Clontarf Academy, which engages students through activities such as AFL and writing, had just three days to create a story ready for publishing.
“I was in a room with seven writers and we talked a lot about writing a book and the boys said it has to be our words, our places and our people, and it has to be about a boy who plays footy,” author David Lawrence said today.
“We talked about what [the main character’s] good qualities would be and we came up with ideas about always turning up to training on time and working really hard.
“But [the character] had to have a bad quality as well, he couldn’t be perfect so the boys had this idea that he would be bad at footy.
“It is a cracking read.”
The book’s main character is based on Damien Joshua, who is actually a pretty decent footy player according to the other authors.
“He was just there from the very beginning,” Mr Brooking said.
Mr Brooking said once the students had the idea for the story they broke it down into chapters and brainstormed ideas.
“We had big pieces of butchers paper for each chapter with all of the ideas we had mapped out and then we each chose a chapter to write,” he said.
“As I started to write it just came to me, it wasn’t that difficult.”
The authors said they were proud of their first book, which has sparked a love for reading and writing.
Katherine Mayor Fay Miller also attended the event saying the young writers are great future leaders.
“They are setting a great example for the students here today and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Damo Makes his Mark was jointly produced by the Indigenous Literary Foundation, which opens doors for remote Indigenous students through supplying culturally appropriate books and running programs which allow students to publish their own stories.
It will be read by students across Australia.
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