Author Helen Thurloe had a Zoom chat with Year 9 English students to speak about her book they are reading.

Author Helen Thurloe had a Zoom chat with Year 9 English students to speak about her book they are reading.

Year 9 English students of Ms King were very lucky recently to have the unique opportunity to have a Zoom session with the author of the novel they are reading this term. The students have written the following article.

On Thursday, 9th March, we were introduced via a Zoom chat to Helen Thurloe, author of ‘Promising Azra’. This chat was organised by our teacher Ms King. ‘Promising Azra’ is one of the books available to study in the Year 9 English curriculum. It is about a young Pakistani-Australian girl whose family organises a forced marriage for her in Pakistan.

During class Ms King asked us to form a list of questions that we wanted Ms Thurloe to answer. Some were based on the storyline and what happened next but a lot were asking her about the topic of the book and the writing process.

Author Helen Thurloe gave us an insight into a writer's experience and the writing process. She spoke about the writing process through to publishing and she answered general questions that we had for her about her book. We learned that she didn't actually choose the end title of the book, although she now likes the hidden meaning in it, and that she had seven drafts before the finished product.

Author Helen Thurloe

Ms Thurloe researched and put a lot of time and effort into giving young girls an opportunity to speak up on situations like Azra’s – she spoke to many young Pakistani women from Western Sydney to create an authentic voice for her book, one that would inform people about the reality of forced marriages without it being too dark or depressing. Her reasoning for writing about this topic was that “it was a story that needed to be told” and although Ms Thurloe isn't Pakistani she felt the need to inform others about forced marriages and that they are still happening today.

“My starting point for ‘Promising Azra’ was an article in the Australian in February 2012, about forced marriages in Sydney”, Ms Thurloe said. It took her over 4 years to write, edit, and publish her book.

Ms Thurloe is truly an inspiration and on behalf of all our class, we would like to thank her for motivating us to write and encouraging the idea that women and girls should be able to speak about their experiences. She has given a voice to those who don't have a voice - those with abusive or controlling families, people who can’t speak up, and lost voices of females and child brides.

Author Helen Thurloe

Our English class has grown to love her book as we have studied and analysed it. We are very grateful for having a chance to speak with Helen Thurloe and we would also like to thank Ms King for organising such a special event.

Written By

Year 9 Students

Year 9 Students
Catherine McAuley Westmead

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