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Ingrid Laguna

Author, Education Consultant

Ingrid Laguna is a dynamic and engaging author, teacher and Education Advisor for the Melbourne Writers Festival. Her work has been published internationally and her fourth book, Bailey Finch Takes a Stand (middle-grade) is coming soon. She has written for numerous publications including The Monthly, The Age, Magpies Magazine and the AEU magazine.

Where were you born?

I was born in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

What other jobs have you had?

As a percussionist, singer and songwriter, I have toured Europe, Asia and Australia, recorded several albums, and taken percussion and song writing workshops. With performance group Ruby Fruit Jungle, I supported Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, playing at Australia’s biggest entertainment venues.

In the Australian film industry, I worked as a crew member on numerous television commercials, a telemovie and a short film.

While in Central Australia, I directed the NT Youth Film Festival and was integral to the Kunka Career Conference for Aboriginal Women, the Indigenous Music Awards, and music programs for Aboriginal youths.

My memoir, Serenade for a Small Family (A&U) was awarded a Varuna Fellowship and, after publication, The Age Non-Fiction Book of The Week. Songbird (Text Publishing) received Notable recognition by the CBCA and has been published in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Sunflower, the sequel, was longlisted for the ABDA award.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Recurring themes in my work include identity, radical empathy, resilience, own voices, local activism, courage and friendship.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Feedback from young readers (and teachers) of Songbird and Sunflower, two of my children’s novels, inspired by the courage and resilience of my Iraqi and Syrian students.

Publication of my memoir, a story that took great courage to write but that reminded me of my passion for writing.

Touring Europe and Asia with a dynamic, percussion-based performance group, and playing at festivals all over Australia, as well as in Europe and Asia.

Working with Aboriginal youths as Director of the NT Youth Film Festival

Working with a team to develop the Kunka Career Conference for Aboriginal women in Central Australia.

Where have your works been published?

My work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about connecting with people, laughing my head off, dancing, live music, good speeches, exploring ideas, trying to be courageous, reading and writing.

I am also passionate about finding creative ways to engage young people in writing and reading and finding a voice. I am committed to the journey of perpetually honing my writing craft and exploring the power of the written word.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I have carried out author visits to schools, libraries and festivals throughout Victoria. I presented at the Perth Literature & Ideas Festival in 2020 and the ALEA national conference in 2019.

As a musician, I have performed on stages throughout Australia, Europe and Asia. I have run song writing and percussion workshops at festivals and community centres around the country.

Testimonials

Our students were completely engaged in everything Ingrid had to say about her book, Songbird, Jamila’s experiences and what it’s like to be a writer. They also loved joining in with the presentation and discussion. As a teacher it was so fantastic to have an author talk to our students who was so friendly, charismatic and had total control of the room- her teacher skills were very evident.

—J. Ephgrave, Sunshine PS, October 2019

Ingrid was a captivating speaker who challenged our 10-12 year olds to imagine moving to another country. She involved the students in the presentation, keeping the engagement level high. She was generous with her advice for our aspiring writers. Very inspiring!

—M. Klein, Eltham College, September 2019

The students were always engaged and many questions were asked. Ingrid shared her experiences as an author and the challenges she has faced in completing published pieces. She shared pieces from her book Songbird, and spoke to the students about the meaning behind why she chose to write in this way.

—B. Justice, Bell Primary School, September 2019

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