From Aus with Love! Author Ken Reads to Kudla Kids
- From Australia with Love! Aussie author Ken Spillman reads to Kudla Kids at CFAL and ELC
Mangaluru: It was indeed a Reading and Healthy Eating- a wonderfully enriching way for children to spend a Sunday morning at Centre For Advance Learning (CFAL) and Early Learning Centre (ELC) premises on 31 July 2016 from 10 am onward, where they interacted with Ken Spillman, an Australian writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who read couple of his story books and also entertained the children. Nearly 100 children showed up for the event, where Ken read partial of his book “Clumsy”, which narrates the story of a young girl who expresses herself through her paintings, to the children of age 5-9. During the other workshop, he read about ‘Advaita- the writer’, a story of a girl whose passion is to become a writer, for ages 10 to early teens. The children of ages 5 up to early teens also read stories from the books and had activities based on the books which helped them discover their imaginative side through reading.
Ken Spillman, a famous Australian author who has written over 35 books spanning many genres partially read two of his books ‘Advaita- the writer’ and ‘Clumsy’ and later handed over autographed copies of his books to children. Prior to the workshop on Sunday at CFAL, he did a reading session at a local Government school -Mangaluru on Saturday. Ken who has written various books have children and young adults as his reader base. The diversity of his work includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, literary criticism and sports writing. He is also known to play an active role in supporting foundations and working with disadvantaged children. He has also interacted with children served by such foundations in a number of cities in India and Malaysia. But on Sunday, children of Mangaluru had a great opportunity to meet Ken and interact with him by posing a bunch of queries.
At CFAL and ELC, children are encouraged to read and develop the traits of self-learning. And to further this cause, they conducted this one-of-a-kind book reading/ story-telling session with Ken Spillman, where the children enjoyed very enthusiastically. Besides, children were given snacks made from organic ingredients. Vijay Moras, the President of CFAL welcomed the gathering, while Severine Rosario-Principal of CFAL, Sonia Moras-Principal of ELC and teachers graced the occasion.
When asked about some of his unforgettable anecdotes and stories, Ben said, “I’ve seen for myself that kids everywhere are wonderful, magical beings, regardless of cultural context. They are constantly surprising, too. Not so long ago in Bengaluru, I was visiting some community libraries run after school hours by a non-profit organization named Akshara Foundation. These kids came from very poor homes, and their English was limited. During question time, I was fooling around a bit (as I often do!) and invited their toughest questions. A boy asked: ‘What is the largest prime number?’ He was asking the wrong guy! And what was really hilarious is that he KNEW he was asking the wrong guy… HE was fooling around too – in a really creative way.
Narrating about how a typical day would be for him, he said, ” I usually have a cup of tea and a minimal breakfast, and then begin my writing day at around 9.00am. Whenever possible, I’ll start at a café with a nice latte, and will check my emails while drinking it. If there’s something urgent – edits from a publisher, for example – I’ll get straight on to that. Otherwise, I’ll pick up where I left off the next day. When I’m all fuelled up with coffee, I like to settle in with my laptop at a public or university library. I drink water and eat nothing but fruit/nuts for as long as possible, usually all day. I like to work until around 7.00 pm. After dinner in the evening, I try to catch up on emails and organize my priorities– that helps me to get going quickly when I get back on the laptop next morning.”
Speaking about his connection with India, Ken said, ” I do have a special connection with India. I think the seeds were planted by some Anglo-Indian teachers I had in primary school. They spoke about India with such love and yearning, and I developed a sense of wonder about it. A little later, I also idolized Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev! Surprisingly, it took me a long time to make my first visit to India but, within 24 hours of my arrival I knew that it was going to be a huge part of my life forever and a day. If I had, to sum up, my attraction to India, I would say this: it brings all my senses alive and makes me feel part of a big, bold, colourful sea of humanity”.
Finally, in his message to budding young writers, Ken Spilman said,” First, I would advise all young writers to avoid writing because they want any particular outcome. They should only write if they need to and want to. Second, they should never aim to write like their favourite authors – they should aspire to write only what seems natural and instinctive for them to write. Third, I would advise young writers not to become so focused on writing that they forget to read widely and know their markets. I’ve referred to one important aspect in my answer to an earlier question, i.e., it’s vital to keep alive the child within. It simply won’t work if you set out to ‘teach’ something — you need to tap into feelings. Apart from that, it’s all hard work and patience “.