16. Marija Poljak
Marija’s family came to Australia as refugees from former Yugoslavia. Her family settled up in Adelaide, where her mum got a job at Tea Tree Gully Library, and is still here to this day.
The library was the first place Marija became familiar with in Adelaide – she’d visit often and her mum would frequently bring home new English books for her to read.
For Marija, having access to English books was really important as her family rarely spoke English at home, so she had to actively learn English and expose herself to the language to build up her vocabulary and literacy skills.
Now, a published author, Marija feels she’s been given an opportunity to detail the experiences of her family, parents, herself and other migrants through written word, and communicate a part of Yugoslav identity that hasn’t really been reflected anywhere else.
“Every book I consumed was so important to me because it allowed me to be able to imagine myself doing something similar one day. Now it feels like giving back - I really wanted to see my book, 'The Courtyard Children', in libraries specifically.”
Hear more of Marija's story: