27 April 2015 - "KY!" - New Release!! - A novella about modern bullying


"KY!"

- New Release -

A novella about modern bullying!

G'day folks,

Well, I am finally releasing a book that won an award as a manuscript in the Australian National Literary Awards in 2006! This is my first novella. It is only 110 pages, but it packs a mighty punch. As you know, I've been an advocate and activist for kids worldwide. I've also been a social justice activist and human rights campaigner for decades. So, what's this novella about? It's about bullying, and the main character, Rida Khalid, is a Muslim girl who came to Australia with her parents and uncle as asylum seekers.


ORIGINS OF THIS STORY:

You might find this interesting. Having decided to write a story about bullying, I decided to use characters that were fairly topical at the time in Australia - mainly, Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers. Why not, eh?  I guess you are wondering how I discovered so many facts about bullying. Good question. When I was a kid, you were bullied physically or verbally. Nowadays, kids use those methods, but they also use emails, text-messaging, Facebook and any other form of technology or social media to bring you down.

One day I happened to be in our local library and noticed a teen girl's magazine that featured an article on bullying. I think it was Cleo Magazine. So, I borrowed it and read the article. A website was contained within the article, so I clicked on it and found hundreds of comments by teens who had been bullied, or were being bullied. It was a sad and sorry tale and, I'm convinced that for many of those teens, writing on this website was the first time they'd told anyone  about being bullied. You could feel their anxiety. It was palpable.

This is what I did. I cut and pasted about 80 comments from teens and printed them. Then, I drew a line down the middle of a large pad and wrote two headings: WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED and WHAT THEY DID ABOUT IT. I then proceeded to write the salient points under each of those headings. As you can imagine, many of the issues were common. 

So, folks, that is exactly how I developed a great knowledge about modern bullying.  I then set to work to write a story that encompassed every detail mentioned by the teens who had openly expressed their woes, fears, anguish and heartbreak on that website. 




WHY CHOOSE A GIRL AS THE MAIN CHARACTER?  

Another good question. This is not the first time I have chosen a female as the main protagonist. Nope, I have another series that contains three manuscripts so far, and fortunately, a publisher has shown some interest in them. But, don't get too excited. Also, Mister Rainbow, which will soon be released,  has a young girl and boy as the main protagonists. As a male, I love using girls and young women as my main characters. Why, because it's a challenge, and it keeps me on my toes as a writer. Not only but also, using girls as main characters will make your book appealing to girls, who are considered to be less reluctant readers than boys. Hopefully, a good business decision.

 WHY CHOOSE A MUSLIM GIRL AS THE MAIN CHARACTER?

When I wrote this, Muslims in Australia were often being demonised by a variety of people and groups. So were refugees and asylum seekers. Well, folks, nothing much has changed - sadly. So, as a human rights activist, I thought why not use a Muslim girl as my main character? When you read this book, you will agree with me - SHE'S A FABULOUS KID!


Julian Burnside, AO, QC, human rights activist, Australian barrister, refugee advocate, and author.


WHAT OTHER ISSUES DOES THIS BOOK COVER?

Being a teenager, fitting in, refugees, Muslims, Asians, Leukaemia, sport, competing, human rights, equality, books, loyalty, honesty, friendships, racism, bigotry, mateship and some great Australian writers and poets.




DEDICATION:

 This story is dedicated to those who
have been bullied; especially
to those who did something about it.
It is also dedicated to refugees and asylum seekers who,
by whatever means, made their way to Australia.



HERE IS THE BLURB:

Rida Khalid is a Muslim refugee from Iran. She is bullied by two girls at school for wearing a hijab (Muslim headscarf), reading books and wearing glasses, and seeks refuge in an old man’s garden after school. Rida meets an Asian girl at school, Ky, who also loves books, but Rida soon dumps her for a gawky girl, Carmen, who teaches her about fitting in. To be accepted, Rida removes her hijab at school, but she must wear her headscarf whilst competing in the inter-school sports. Her family will attend.

    Rida deliberately loses the first race because Carmen says, “Only nerds do well in sports”. The sports master berates Rida for losing the race and points to Ky who’s made an extraordinary effort to get out of hospital to watch her run. Ky is battling leukaemia. Rida wins the next two races and gives her winning ribbons to Ky for good luck.

    Rida enters the State Athletics Championships, but two athletics clubs lodge an objection to her hijab. Rida is shocked when a retired Queens Counsel (QC) represents her at the Equal Opportunity Commission. Who is he? Will Rida win the case? Will she run in the State Championships?  Will Ky beat leukaemia, and who owns the garden that Rida has used as a sanctuary?


    COMMENTS BY THE JUDGES:



These are the comments made by the judges, Randle Armstrong and Donna Murphy,  in the Australian National Literary Awards in 2006:

"KY! was well written and encompasses many issues relevant in today's society, including racism, bullying, Australian values, team-building through a common goal and illness; a worthy read for all young Australians."



Clancy's comment: Well, there you have it, folks. Many kids will identify with this book. And, many adults, especially parents, might learn some things that your kids are not telling you. Being aware is the name of the game. Youth suicide in this country is massive, and so often we learn after a teen has taken their own life that they were bullied. 

Naturally, I'd recommend this book to any age, but especially for teenagers and parents. As I said, it is not a long book. It's 110 pages, but trust me, it will grab you and make you flip the pages. Not only, there are a few gob smacking surprises in this story that you will not expect. Good ones! The final chapters will make the hairs dance on your arms. 

So, I've done the big sell. It's now up to you. This might be a great gift for your kids or grandkids. Head to my book shop at the top right hand corner of this page and buy a copy. It is not expensive, and might be the best investment you ever made. Oh, it's already got a five-star review on Amazon.

Thanks for listening.

I'm ...