>> About the authors > Rosanne Hawke

About the authors

Rosanne Hawke ROSANNE HAWKE, author of Shahana and Alex

Rosanne Hawke is the South Australian author of over thirty-five books. She lived in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates as an aid worker for ten years. Her books include Shahana, a CBCA Notable Book, Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll, a CBCA Notable Book, and Taj and the Great Camel Trek, winner of the 2012 Adelaide Festival Awards for Children's Literature and shortlisted for the 2012 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. She was the 2015 recipient of the Nance Donkin Award; an Asialink, Carclew, Varuna and May Gibbs Fellow; and a Bard of Cornwall. She taught creative writing at Tabor Adelaide and writes in an old Cornish farmhouse with underground rooms near Kapunda.

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.’