Super Netball and NSW Swifts star Maddy Proud releases second children’s book in Grace on the Court series
Posted On May 10, 2022
NSW Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud plays netball the same way she talks.
Fast and frenetic, jumping from left to right, before making sense of her zig-zag route to the point.
After the first eight rounds of Super Netball this year, Proud leads the competition for feeds (353) and goal assists (207).
To some, it may look like a headless chook running around in a red and blue Swifts dress, but seasoned fans will know there is method behind the madness.
It probably comes as no surprise that Proud writes in the same manner, thrashing the keyboard on her computer and throwing herself headfirst into the process.
See, the reigning premiership winner is also an author and has just released her second book in the Grace on the Court series, targeting young girls and adolescents.
“I’ve found that my writing style is very much like the way I talk, and so I’ll sit down and write thousands of words non-stop when I’m feeling inspired,” Proud told The Netty Life podcast.
The narratives in Proud’s books centre around the life of 13-year-old Grace Parker as she navigates her first years at high school and trialling in the junior netball pathways.
The first edition was an instant hit with fans when it was published in 2018 and has become an ongoing source of inspiration for book week school outfits.
Although Proud has taken four years to write the next, she’s had a lot on her plate – rupturing her ACL, completing the gruelling rehab and helping the Swifts lift two Super Netball trophies.
During the most recent grand final in 2021, she played with a broken rib.
She has also completed a masters course in creative writing at Macquarie University, hoping to see her beloved pastime evolve into a legitimate career path.
“When I wrote the first book off the back of a World Youth Cup over 10 years ago, I did it with absolutely no expectations to publish and as something I just loved doing to escape,” Proud said.
“So with this second book, I was a bit worried thinking, ‘was it all a fluke?’
“If I’m going to call myself an author, then I should probably make sure I learn the craft.
“The course was a real eye-opener and an unreal experience: my lecturer became my mentor and it helped so much.”
As a respected leader in the sport and with form that has seen her on the fringe of the Australian Diamonds squad, Proud is a popular figure within the netball community.
Her down-to-earth personality means she doesn’t take life too seriously, often poking fun at herself for regularly falling over on the netball court, and openly talking about her love of pop culture — especially singer Harry Styles.
These characteristics, as well as the fact that Proud is unashamedly herself, make her especially relatable for young girls.
It’s something Proud cites as an important theme in her writing, too.
“The protagonist in my stories is quite relatable, she goes through experiences that most teenagers do during that transition from primary to high school, which is a really critical time.
“I tried to keep the story true with the problems and challenges that arise around balancing sport, friends and maybe love interests.
“I hope it helps readers deal with these things, whether they learn from her doing the right thing or sometimes making a mistake.”
In her main career as an elite netballer, Proud is often spoken about as being a role model.
Now it seems her second job involves the same purpose: to set a good example.
“Or, ‘my daughter loves netball and she wanted to read the book because you’d written it and although she’d never finished one before, she read yours cover to cover.’
“For me, sport was the saving grace that kept me focused and helped me enjoy school.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it, so if I can encourage one girl or boy to pick up a book or try sport, then that’s my job done.”