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About the authors

Rosanne Hawke ROSANNE HAWKE, author of Shahana

Rosanne Hawke is a children’s author who lives in rural South Australia. Her twenty books include Marrying Ameera, Soraya the Storyteller, The Messenger Bird and Mountain Wolf. Many of her books have been shortlisted or notable in Australian awards, including CBCA, and Taj and the Great Camel Trek was the winner of a 2012 Adelaide Festival award. She is a Carclew, Asialink, Varuna, and May Gibbs Fellow, and a Bard of Cornwall. Rosanne lectures in Creative Writing at Tabor Adelaide.

Rosanne says:

‘For ten years I worked as an aid worker in the Middle East and most of that time was spent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Northern Pakistan. We lived in Abbottabad close to Azad Kashmir, but we were not allowed to cross the border. The war over Kashmir is the longest-running conflict in the world today, and possibly the least well known or understood – and there are many different points of view. Currently India maintains a barrier or fence along the border between the disputed territories, and it is near this ‘Line of Control’ that I have set the events of Shahana.

‘It wasn’t until 2006 when I was on an Asialink Writing Fellowship, and the border opened for aid workers helping with the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, that I was able to visit Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. There was a huge amount of damage, but I could see it had once been a beautiful place. Little is written in papers about how the Kashmiri conflict affects children, but many sources suggest there are over 200,000 orphans in Kashmir. I wanted to tell these children’s stories, albeit fictitiously, so other young people in peaceful countries like Australia can understand and care. Maybe knowing these stories can help.’