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The School

Ltyentye Apurte Catholic Education Centre (LACEC) is situated in the Santa Teresa community, about 83 km south-east of Alice Springs. The local Arrernte language is the first, most frequently used language. The school also features a strong English as a Second Language (ESL) approach.

The Project

Developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders and delivered by Red Room Poetry, Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music and art.

In May this year, poet Kirli Saunders worked with students from Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School and Centralian Secondary College to create poems using Western Arrernte language with the guidance of Custodian Jannette McCormack & Linguist David Moore. A tailored PIFL Arrernte resource was crafted to guide students through the process of writing poetry that is connected to and grounded in Western Arrernte Country and language. 
Poems from the workshops will be published on the Red Room poetry website and were also shared at the NT Writers Festival during the Festival Opening (May 16, 5:30-7pm, Olive Pink Botanic Garden) and Poet's Moon Readings (May 17, 6-7:30pm, Olive Pink Botanic Garden). 

Read the student poems here soon!

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai Woman and an award-winning international Children’s Author and Poet as well as a Teacher, and emerging Artist. She created and led Red Room Poetry's Poetry in First Languages program from its conception until July 2020. Her debut picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards and CBCA notables. Her poetry collection, Kindred was shortlisted for the ABIA 2020 Book Awards and FAB Booktopia Awards. She is the inaugural winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award and University of Canberra ATSI Poetry prize (2019). She is an esteemed judge for the Val Vallis Poetry Prize. Kirli is the 2020 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year.



Taking a dream from conception to delivery – Poetry in First Languages – Kirli Saunders