New Books for a New Nation

Good books and a love of reading are things which teachers all around the world love to have in abundance. One thing that has made me sad over the years is visiting classrooms in Timor-Leste where only the teacher has a book (usually a text book, not a story book). So a few years ago, my dear friends and writers and designers of books, Lee and Kevin Burgemeestre, and I sat down and decided to get a little project off the ground to help put beautiful books into the hands of Timor-Leste's kids.

To date we have produced ten titles on a range of subjects, including family violence (dealt with in an age-appropriate and culturally sensitive way), environmental degradation, disability, female resistance heroins and the solar system. The book "Haree ba Lalehan" or "Look to the Sky" is the first book ever produced in the Tetum language on the planets and stars!

Take a look at some of the books we have produced here:

"Muki: Rosa Bonaparte Soares's Diary" is a book which Xanana and I wrote about an amazing young woman who founded the first Timorese women's organisation in 1975. She lost her life at the time of Indonesia's brutal invasion of Timor-Leste. Her story is written in the form of historical fiction.

I am in the process of translating this book into English, so keep coming back here for updates!

"Sara Nia Luta" or "Sara's Struggle" follows the story of a young girl, Sara, and her experience of verbal and emotional violence at home. The story and her troubled relationship with her older brother take a surprise and happy twist at the end.

Click on the cover image to read the full text in Tetum online.

New Books for a New Nation” is an exciting and vital initiative which will ensure that Timor-Leste’s new Basic Education curriculum succeeds in making learning relevant and enjoyable for children in Timor-Leste.

Visit our Facebook page and find out how you can contribute to improving learning outcomes for the kids of Timor-Leste through the New Books for a New Nation initiative!

We need an ongoing stream of funds to continue to deliver quality books to Timor-Leste's classrooms. This is one we are working on at present. It is a biography of resistance leader and national hero, Nino Konis Santana:

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"A Woman of Independence"

ISBN: 9781742624020
Format: eBook
Pub Date: 10/11/2007
Category: Biography & True Stories / Biography: general
Imprint: Macmillan Australia
Price: $16.99

"Alias Ruby Blade"


Feature Documentary Film (2012)

Using astonishing footage of the years-long resistance, director Alex Meillier presents a highly personal account of the courage needed to create a new democracy in modern times.

You can buy "Alias Ruby Blade" on Google Play Movies, YouTube as download or rent it on Google Play Movies, YouTube online.

About Me
I was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1966. As a student of the Italian and Indonesian languages at Melbourne University in the 1980's I became aware of the plight of the people of a small half-island called East Timor. A colony of Portugal for 500 years, East Timor or "Timor-Leste" was invaded by its huge neighbour, Indonesia, in 1975. It's a long story, but like many Australians and other citizens of the world, it made me angry and sad to learn that my own government aided and abetted that invasion in order to gain the upper hand in negotiating access to oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea, just north of Australia. At the cost of a quarter of a million Timorese lives. I decided to do something about it. And I still am today. 

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