On Wednesday, May 26, Australian author Rosanne Hawke visited the Washington School for Comprehensive Literacy. Hawke is friends with Grandpa Stew Georgia who helps students at Washington. Hawke had expressed a desire to visit an American school to talk with teachers and students. Georgia made the Washington visit possible so she could her discuss reading and writing with the student body.
Hawke has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide, Australia and is now a Senior Lecturer at Tabort College in Adelaide. Hawke's book, Soraya the Storyteller, was short listed for an Australian Children's Book Council (CBC) award and the SA Festival Award; Wolfchild was short listed for the Aurealis Awards, and Across the Creek won the 2005 Cornish Holyer an Gof Award. Hawke is also a Varuna, May Gibbs and Asialink Fellow, and is a Bard of Cornwall. Individuals who would like more information about the author can visit her website at www.rosannehawke.com
Hawke lived in Pakistan and in the UAE serving with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission.) During these years Hawke was exposed to different levels of new cultures, which gave her ideas for her books. Hawke's children experienced culture shock when returning to Australia. Some of Hawke's books have included the changes, the rejection, and the loss that children can experience when their parents move from one culture to another.
During her visit, Hawke told the students about snow leopards in the mountains of Pakistan and her desire to include them in one of her books. Hawke also read her story, Yardil, to the class. During the 1860's, camels from the sub-continent were brought to Australia to provide transport into the outback. While in Pakistan and the UAE, Hawke saw and lived around many camels. This idea came to fruition in her book, Mustara, which tells about a boy-camel- driver who was too young to go with the camel train, until a sandstorm strikes and Mustara brought them safely home.
Hawke also pointed out that Australia is very different from the USA for authors. In Australia, the potential market for a new book is small. If a book sells 6,000 copies in Australia, it has a good start. In the USA, one needs to look at 100,000 or more.
Before she left Washington, Hawke shared how impressed she was with all of the writing strategies and skills the students at Washington were able to use. The writing, editing, and revising skills were beyond what she sees in most schools. She told the students that Washington had some great beginning writers.