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Ingrid Laguna is a multi-award-winning novelist and educator. She has published a memoir and numerous books for children. Her work has been published internationally, featured by Reading Australia and given Notable recognition by the CBCA. Ingrid’s writing has featured in various publications, including The Monthly, The Age, Teacher Magazine and The AEU Magazine.
I was born in Darlinghurst, Sydney.
I was the Education Advisor for the Melbourne Writers Festival Schools’ Program over two Festivals, ensuring presenting author sessions were closely related to Victorian curriculum, creating classroom resources to accompany author sessions and liaising with school leaders.
I had the privilege of teaching at an intensive English language school for migrant and refugee-background kids, predominantly from Iraq and Syria, based in Broadmeadows for five years. My students’ resilience and courage inspired me to write Songbird and Sunflower.
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.
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.
Recurring themes in my work include identity, radical empathy, resilience, own voices, local activism, consent and respectful relationships.
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.
My work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK.
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.
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.
Songbird shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year Award 2021
Songbird – featured title with Reading Australia 2022
Sunflower shortlisted for ABDA
Sunflower shortlisted for 2021 Children’s Peace Literature Award
Our Year 6 students were engaged from the first minute of Ingrid’s talk. The way she was able to weave discussion between the students’ study area of migration and immigration, her three novels and her own experiences of writing and teaching was seamless. The students responded excitedly and enthusiastically to her inclusive and interactive approach to presenting, and are all now eager readers Songbird, Sunflower and Bailey Finch Takes a Stand.
‘Kit and Arlo Find a Way explores several critical and complex themes for young people, including sense of self, bodily autonomy, exposure to explicit imagery, withdrawing consent, respecting boundaries, coercive control and implicit pressure, social rejection, and even touches on power and gender in adult relationships through the parents of one of the protagonists.
In addition to the well-crafted novel, the resource contains prompts for discussion at the end, to help parents and educators explore these issues with children. I look forward to Kit and Arlo on the shelf of every classroom, library, community setting and home in Victoria.’
Students were really happy with it. The workshop students in particular found it inspiring. Was a great suggestion and I really appreciate that we were able to book her with such short notice.
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.
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!
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.