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Book Week bonanza at The Springfield Anglican College creates a new chapter in student authorship


This year’s Book Week celebrations at The Springfield Anglican College saw the launch of a new student-authored collection of short stories and poems, as well as a special visit from award-winning author Sarah Armstrong to host a student workshop

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The Springfield Anglican College celebrated this year’s Book Week in style with the launch of a new student-authored collection of short stories and poems, Unleashed, and a special Secondary Student workshop run by award-winning Australian author Sarah Armstrong.

This year’s Book Week event, held in late August, brought the College’s community together — from Kindergarten to Year 12 students, educators and literature enthusiasts alike — to celebrate books and the importance of reading.

Students celebrating Book Week

The Springfield Anglican College Secondary Students celebrate Book Week in August 2023

For The Springfield Anglican College Principal Steven Morris, events like Book Week are a vital reminder of the power of books in the digital era.

“In an age when streaming, social media and television are the mainstream way for young people to consume information, we strongly encourage reading as a way to help students improve their mastery of language, boost their communications skills, increase their creativity, and develop their imaginations,” Mr Morris said.

“Reading is a fantastic way to relax and look after your mental health, and Book Week is a fun way to reintroduce the power of reading to all our students.”

The importance of literature was particularly highlighted with the College’s launch of a new book authored by 16 of their students, Unleashed: A Collection of Short Stories.

A carefully crafted selection of stories and poems, Unleashed showcases not only the students’ literary prowess, but also their unique perspectives and diversity of genres and themes.

College Captain and Unleashed contributing author Olivia Harding found the experience of writing for the collection wonderful for further enhancing her passion for books.

“I love books because they are different for everyone and no one person will ever read a book and feel the same way about it or understand it in the same way,” Olivia said.

“I enjoy writing in my spare time and like to write about situations and feelings I can relate to; I am proud to have my two works displayed because I worked really hard on them, and I’m pleased with how they turned out.”

Year 7 student Olivia Stephenson had the distinction of being the youngest author to appear in Unleashed, an important chapter in her pursuit of writing in the fantasy genre.

“I enjoy writing in my spare time and creating fantasy short stories for pleasure — I love that you can enter a universe within a few moments and go on adventures with characters,” Olivia said.

“You can be someone completely different and be transported somewhere else completely.

“I feel incredibly proud that my story got into the College’s short story collection and hope I can make a difference with my writing.”

With the launch of Unleashed, Mr Morris had only praise for the student authors and their personal achievements in turning ideas into text.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the literary achievements of our students; the Unleashed short story collection shows the boundless potential of our students’ literary minds,” he said.

“Each author takes you on a journey and demonstrates extraordinary courage to explore themselves and their stories.”

Fans of literature on the Secondary Campus were also excited to join a writing workshop with renowned author Sarah Armstrong, whose recent book for young readers, Big Magic, was awarded Notable for the 2023 CBCA Book of the Year Awards by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Sarah Armstrong

Award-winning Australian author Sarah Armstrong teaching students at a workshop during Book Week celebrations in August 2023

Known for her captivating storytelling and thought-provoking narratives, Sarah Armstrong shared insights into her writing journey and the power of literature to ignite imaginations and inspire change.

For an aspiring young writer like Olivia Stephenson, attending the workshop was an invaluable chance to develop her writing skills.

“Sarah Armstrong gave us tips to help us grow and become better writers during her workshops and one of the best ideas she explained was free writing, when you write constantly for 30 minutes to help unlock your creativity,” she said.

“During the workshop, we were encouraged to write a new story or continue work on a story we had already started, and Sarah Armstrong gave us writing prompts and specific advice on how to improve them.

“As a younger writer, these new ways of working have helped me to grow in confidence and to think about areas of writing I hadn’t considered.”

As part of the College’s broader commitment to ongoing efforts to promote literacy and a lifelong appreciation for literature in the wider community, the College utilised Book Week celebrations to raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

“We believe that fostering a love for reading and writing is vital for all young people, and are excited to support the ILF’s vital work in remote Indigenous communities to shape the direction of young people’s literacy future,” Mr Morris said.

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