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About the authors

Prue Mason

PRUE MASON, author of Zafir

After growing up in Australia, Prue Mason travelled Australia and the world as a flight attendant and sometimes co-pilot on a private aeroplane with her husband, a professional pilot. They lived in Canada for three years, then the Gulf region of the Middle East for twelve years where she worked for children's newspaper Young Times writing feature articles, short stories and a counselling column. As a CELTA trained teacher Prue also taught English as a foreign language to Arabic speakers. Her award-winning book Camel Rider and Destination Abudai are based on her experience of life in Dubai. Prue returned to Australia in 2001, but visits the Middle Eastern region regularly. She and her husband own a vintage aircraft and can often be seen at sunset flying around the Glass House Mountains near where they live.

Prue says:

'Doing the research for this story has been harrowing. I’ve been in tears many times as I’ve viewed YouTube clips and read the blogs of people who are seeing their country torn apart from within. I chose to write Zafir to try to explain how and why the conflict in Syria began. One of the reasons I find writing realistic fiction so fascinating is the challenge of putting children in a situation where they’re forced to take control of their own lives. When I was a 12 year old reading realistic adventure books such as The Silver Sword there was always a question at the back of my mind: would I have the courage and the resourcefulness to do what those children did and react so positively to the difficulties they face? I was lucky enough never to be put in that kind of situation but I hope that the character of Zafir can be inspirational to children who read the book, and that his voice can be heard as we call out for a world where children can grow up knowing what the word ‘salaam’ really means.’