Elaine Forrestal

Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Elaine Forrestal speaking at the launch of ‘To See the World’

Now that the International Book Fair in Bologna is behind me I can start working on my two presentations at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

Different versions of ‘How to bring a dead pirate back to life’ have been part of my repertoire since Black Jack Anderson was released in 2008. However, ‘The key to the treasure is the treasure’ is something I have not presented before. Although the novel, Straggler’s Reef, was first published in 1999 it has always been somewhat overshadowed by its cousin, the adventure/mystery story, Graffiti on the Fence, which was published earlier that same year. Straggler’s Reef was really my first attempt at writing historical fiction, but the adventure/mysteries were being gobbled up by Penguin as fast as I could write them. It was not until almost ten years later, when the story of Black Jack Anderson, Western Australia’s only pirate, fell into my lap that I rediscovered my love of digging into hidden cracks and corners of WA’s colourful past. That’s when I began in earnest to write historical fiction.

I have always loved mysteries and our history is full of them. The use of metaphor has become central, I believe, to historical fiction for a YA audience. Metaphor allows me to deliver the vital essence, the often unmentionable truth, about the violence and cruelty inherent in the lives of our forbears. YA audiences are still being held hostage by those in schools and libraries who would shield young people from what they want, and often need to know. Using metaphor I can often tell, without telling, reveal without revealing so that young people can access those stories in deeper, more meaningful way.

Being invited to speak at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content has given me the opportunity to develop these ideas and the forum in which to deliver them. I will try to keep you up to speed with progress as I write and explore these two topics, but to experience the final result you will have to come to my sessions at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore, 3rd June, 3pm-4pm for the ‘Dead pirate’ (NB. Not to be confused with the Dead Parrot of Monty Python fame) and 5th June, 12noon-1pm for ‘The key to the treasure…’.

See you there.