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Future Girl - illustrated art journal YA novel for age 12 to adult, Deaf Auslan content.


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Future Girl (also titled The Words in My Hands in North America) is a captivating own-voice coming-of-age novel set in near future Melbourne, that bursts with passion, resilience, optimism and joie-de-vivre. An instructional environmental call-to-arms, it is also an utterly gorgeous art journal – 384 pages, no less, of full-colour art. The book explores my detailed experience of Deaf culture and what it feels like to be d/Deaf.

'A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope.’ — KIRKUS - starred review.

Future Girl is published by Allen and Unwin. They say, ‘Asphyxia is a trailblazing Australian Deaf activist, a prominent sustainability champion, and a passionate artist and writer. This is the book we’ve been waiting for her to write. An eight-year labour of love, passion and forward-thinking vision around equal rights and the future of our world as we know it, it is, just as is Asphyxia herself, revolutionary.’

‘A life-changing book for young Deaf and disabled people... of personal growth and pride – demonstrating the importance of the #OwnVoices movement.’ CARLY FINDLAY, OAM

Piper’s mum wants Piper to be ‘normal’ – to put up with the tension headaches, the constant misunderstandings, and the herculean daily efforts it takes for her to pass as hearing, so she can grow up to be ‘successful’ like her scientist mother. But when disaster hits Melbourne, Piper has more important things to worry about, starting with her stomach. The personalised, ultra-processed meals from her mum’s company that used to land on their doorstep so reliably have halved in quantity, transport costs sky-rocket overnight, and businesses everywhere start to collapse.

Piper’s best friend and lifeline at school goes AWOL, and she and her mum lose everything. And then there’s Marley – a CODA (child of Deaf adult), who opens a door for Piper into a new world – a world where Deafness is something to celebrate, not to hide, full of beautifully expressive Auslan sign language. As Piper begins to explore her love of art, discovers a new passion for guerrilla gardening, and pushes back remorselessly against her mum, all while becoming more and more immersed in Deaf culture, she falls hard for Marley – but Marley is struggling with some big questions of his own…

The book will soon be adapted for the screen in partnership with Orange Entertainment Co, and is scooping up awards!
- Winner! ALA Schneider Family Award Best Book For Teens 2022
- Winner! Readings Young Adult prize 2021
- Kirkus Best YA fiction of 2021
- The Guardian top 20 books of 2020
- Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book of the year for Older Readers 2021
- Shortlisted Indie Book Awards 2021
- Shortlisted Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year for Older Children 2021 <
- Shortlisted Aurelis Award 2021
- The Great Books Guide top 100 books 2021

'Future Girl is a must-read for Deaf people, who will identify with Piper, and for those who are hearing, offering an understanding of what it’s like to be Deaf. It takes me back to my own struggle to fit in and my transformation into loving myself as I am: a signing Deaf woman with a place in both the Deaf and hearing worlds.' DRISANA LEVITZKE-GRAY, Young Australian of the Year, 2015

‘Brilliantly imaginative, totally immersive – Asphyxia tilts the world sideways and invites you to see what was always there. Don’t miss this book.’ AMIE KAUFMAN

Future Girl is a 384 page full-colour illustrated novel for ages 13 to adult, that explores Deaf identity, peak oil and the coronovirus-like chaos it could create, and self-expression through art journals.

Offering an authentic window into the world of the Deaf, Future Girl is also rich with romance, a fraught and complicated mother–daughter relationship, inspiration to live more sustainably, and guidance for those interested in art-journaling. It’s absorbing, interesting, motivating and important – all in one. If you are d/Deaf, you will relate to this story and emerge equipped to better articulate your own experiences to others. If you are hearing, you will learn more than you thought possible about the subtleties of d/Deaf life. If you want art journal inspiration, this book will launch you on a life-long journey of stunning visual self-expression.

‘I f!@#$%^&" love this book. Asphyxia has achieved something extraordinary... the reader emerges completely transformed.’ — ADAM POTTLE

About the author, Asphyxia: I am an artist, writer, public speaker, avid art-journal creator and the author of the much-loved junior fiction Grimstone series. Deaf since the age of three, I learnt to sign when I was eighteen, which changed my life. I am now a Deaf activist, sharing details of Deaf experience. I raise awareness of oppression of Deaf people and what we can all do to change this. My free online Auslan course has had over 15,000 students. I also love to share my art-journaling processes, helping others benefit from its powers for self-expression, problem-solving, planning, goal-tracking and self-esteem. I live on a small farm where I combine food-growing with art. Future Girl combines all these passions. Find out more at www.asphyxia.com.au.

This is a great book to study in the classroom for years 7 to 12. Teacher's notes and resources for readers wishing to explore the themes of Future Girl further are available on my website, www.asphyxia.com.au.

‘Asphyxia’s work is brilliant: a deep, original insight, and a book that everyone should read.’ JACKIE FRENCH, AM

International buyers, if shipping is too expensive, please send me a private message - I may have solutions for you. If you are based in North America, please purchase the book from Annick, titled The Words in My Hands - https://www.annickpress.com/Books/T/The-Words-in-My-Hands

‘Everything I hoped for as a parent of a deaf child... priceless for showing the constant load I see in my son but struggled to understand. ’ — Zara

‘It seems to place you inside a Deaf person's mind, so you can really grasp the difficulties and joys of being Deaf, and the hearing world's reaction to that. It should be in every secondary school!.’ — TRICIA ADAMS, Love Reading 4 Kids

The braille edition can be downloaded from Annick Press's website:


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Dispatches from Australia



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Allen and Unwin, Australia

240 reviews

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

This book came so quickly. It’s beautifully illustrated and looks so well finished, I can’t wait to read it.

Vicki Hamels 31 Jan, 2021

5 out of 5 stars

This book is by far the best illustrated book I have ever read. Every time I turn a page I have a moment where I wonder how long it took Asphyxia to paint every page with colour. The book is set in the the not to distant future and I am constantly reminded that if humans do not change their lives of consumption, then society as we know it will change, and not for the better. As the book explores the author's detailed personal experience of Deaf culture and what it feels like to be d/Deaf, I love getting the insight into what life can be like for those I know and meet.

Casey Gray 10 Jul, 2022

5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful book that matched the description and exceeded my expectations. I loved reading about Piper's journey towards embracing her Deaf identity and the artwork is amazing. I'll be purchasing more copies for friends and family in the future.

Dave 19 Dec, 2021

5 out of 5 stars

Well packaged and delivered. This book really touched my heart. I’m rethinking parts of my identity because of this powerful story. I will treasure it and the impact on my life for a very long time.

Bluebie 22 Oct, 2020

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