Feature Week 31: Alice Desert Festival
The Alice Desert Festival is underway, so week 31 of the National Year of Reading is a great opportunity to feature the Mayor of Alice Springs, Damien Ryan who is a keen supporter of the festival.
Sharing Our Stories
These snaps were taken at the Sharing Our Stories festival held in the lead up to the Alice Desert Festival. Our partners, IAD Press, hosted the Anwerne-Kenhe Ayeye - Sharing Our Stories, community celebration of Aboriginal literacy. Indigenous story tellers and authors and a creative writing workshop, with Kerry Reed Gilbert and National Year of Reading ambassador Marie Munkara, formed part of this very special event. The NT Writers Centre and ICTV also hosted a workshop focusing on opportunities for writers in the digital age.
The Alice Desert Festival is a celebration of the desert and its rich cultural landscape. It showcases music, dance and culture and attracts over 10,000 people. More information about the festival attractions can be found on their website:
Mayor Damien Ryan
Damien has been Mayor of Alice Springs since 2008, and was elected for a further term in 2012. He is passionate about working for and promoting the Alice Springs Community.
In addition to his role as Mayor of Alice Springs, Damien is involved in many aspects of community life including President of the Local Government Association NT, a NT Grants Commissioner; Chair of the Regional Development Australia - NT Inc., Member of the Central Australian Chamber of Commerce Executive, Co-chair of the Outback Way Development Council, a Board Member of the Northern Territory 'Thunder' Football Club and Vice-President of the Finke Desert Race.
Damien's thoughts on reading and the importance of libraries
I love to read as it takes you on an adventure and you can explore places that you may never get to visit. No matter what topic you're interested in, whether you're young or old, you can always find what you are looking for at the Library. I think libraries themselves are amazing places where all members of a community can come together for a common purpose. More and more these days local libraries are evolving into community hubs and multi-media information sources. The Alice Springs Public Library is one of my favourite places to go. Our Library has over 8,500 members; a circulating collection of about 46,000 books, videos, journals, spoken word books and music; and up to 1000 visitors a day!
Damien's reading habits
- When do you read? I read reports and submissions all day long for work, but I enjoy reading of an evening to help me sleep.
- What was the last book you bought from a bookshop?
Steve Jobs Biography - which I enjoyed very much.
- How do you get hold of books? I used to regularly buy books but I prefer now to use the Library.
- Print books, ereader or both? I prefer print books because I travel so much and with print books I don't have to put it away while taking off and landing.
- Do you skim the boring bits or read every word? I always read the whole book, although sometimes I read too quickly and have then have had to go back to re-read bits. I think this is a result of having to speed read during working hours.
- At what point do you give up on a book? I have never given up on a book. I prefer to finish it. I would rather finish it and not enjoy it, but always finish it.
- Do you remember learning to read? Yes, I remember primary school and the nuns teaching us to read. I also remember my mother reading to us, and that my father devoured books. Reading was encouraged within my family.
- Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I loved 'The black stallion', by Walter Farley.
- Estimate the number of books you own. Dozens and dozens and dozens.
- Where's the strangest place you have ever read? Once, I was broken down in the outback and knowing that help was a considerable time away, I lent up against the car and read my book.
Want to know more?
- If you are interested in finding out more about Damien and the work of the Alice Springs Town Council, go to the Council website:
- If you want to see the other National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page.
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing.