We encourage male caregivers and boys to attend together, as an opportunity to model good reading habits. This event encourages discussion about books and reading, through a range of interesting authors sharing their stories over breakfast.
GUEST SPEAKER: GARY LONESBOROUGH
Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin writer, who grew up on the Far South Coast of NSW as part of a large and proud Aboriginal family. Growing up a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan, Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school. Gary has experience working in Aboriginal health, the disability sector (including experience working in the youth justice system) and the film industry, including working on the feature film adaptation of Jasper Jones.
His debut YA novel, THE BOY FROM THE MISH, was published by Allen & Unwin in February 2021. It was published as READY WHEN YOU ARE in the U.S in 2022 by Scholastic.
GUEST SPEAKER: BERNIE SHAKESHAFT
Bernie is the founder and CEO of BackTrack Youth Works in Armidale NSW. He has spent the past 25 years working and living out his passion…. catching wild dogs and wild kids. For many years he lived in the Northern Territory learning his trade in remote areas, learning the lessons of life in the bush and surrounded by wise and skillful Aboriginal men and old school stockmen.
In 2006 with his children growing up and forging their own paths in life, he was determined to turn his vision of working with the most disadvantaged young people in our communities into a reality. To keep them alive, out of jail and chasing their hopes and dreams. 2014 saw him travel overseas on a prestigious Churchill scholarship to learn from some extraordinary organisations that have helped develop the BackTrack model in Australia.
Under Bernie’s leadership, BackTrack has forged a new beginning for over a 1000 young people.Bernie takes great pride in how his vision of giving young people having a hard time a new life journey and a new beginning, is now spreading across NSW with mentoring other communities to get started using the same successful tools that have had remarkable results in Armidale.
“We’ve started something special here in Armidale.I’m proud of what has been achieved to date.The future is what I’m interested in and how we grow and extend new tracks going forward.”
GUEST SPEAKER: JAMES KNIGHT
James Knight has worked in network television, independent documentaries and is a bestselling author. He has written twelve non-fiction books, with topics including cricket, travel, mountaineering, and human-interest biographies. He wrote THE DRAGON'S JOURNEY, an incredible story about Vietnamese boat person Duy Long Nguyen; THE MAN FROM COOLIBAH, the bestselling biography of outback legend Milton Jones; and most recently worked with Sally Faulkner on ALL FOR MY CHILDREN.
Guest Speaker: Phillip Gwynne
Phillip Gwynne's first novel Deadly Unna? was a literary hit and was made into the feature film Australian Rules for which Phillip won an AFI award. The sequel, Nukkin Ya, was also published to great acclaim.