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#LoveOzYAbookclub – Five Messy Questions with Ambelin Kwaymullina (Ashala Wolf)

Hi bookclubbers!

Ambelin KwaymullinaWelcome to a new round of Five Messy Questions with our author of the month.  Our June author in the hot seat is Ambelin Kwaymullina, who wrote THE INTERROGATION OF ASHALA WOLF.  I’d like to thank Ambelin for taking the time to join us, and for having a bit of fun with these questions!


* One of your favourite words and why:

Rhythm. I can’t spell it. No matter how many times I write it, the exact combination of letters never sticks in my head. The word is an eternal mystery to me. To write this answer I spelt rhythm about five different ways, none of which were correct – in fact they were all so far wrong that spellcheck wouldn’t provide me with the correct spelling – so I’ve had to look it up on google.

It’s rhythm, and NOT rhythym, rhthym, rthym, or rythym.

* Something important about your writing process you’d like to share:

My writing process is a cultural process. In my culture, some knowledges are restricted; and so I am careful about what gets put into my books. Also, there is so much misinformation out there about Indigenous peoples that in writing to Indigenous realities I have to be perpetually aware of the many falsehoods that exist about Indigenous realities.

* Rec us a book on writing craft, would ya?:

Any poem, or any song. Good poets and songwriters are masters at telling a story in few words and in a way that captures the imagination.

* Why write for teenagers?  Why not adults, or little munchkins?:

Actually, I do write for the little ones; they are the worlds harshest critics. Five year olds don’t care about my feelings. Five year olds don’t think writers have any feelings. But I will never write for adults. For starters, I think that grown ups are collectively failing in our responsibility to leave the world better than we found it – on the contrary, we’re *$#&ing up the planet for those who come next. But teenagers are the hope of the world – quick to embrace new ideas and discard old ones, increasingly globally aware, and capable of absorbing knowledge at incredible speed. Probably like most YA and kids writers, I get asked all the time why I don’t write for grown ups (the assumption generally being that ‘serious’ authors write for adults) – and my answer is this: the young matter more.

eternal flame* We’re at a dance party right now, and the DJ wants to know which song gets you out on the floor for major boogies and you say…:

There is no song that gets me on the dance floor, because I have no rhythm. If there is such a thing as anti-coordination, then that is what I have. I am a danger to myself and to everyone around me. I will, however, after a great deal of alcohol, get up and sing at karaoke (even though I can’t sing either) – but only to sing the likes of Eternal Flame, Don’t Stop Believin’, and Love Shack. What can I say, I was a teenager in the 80s.


Thanks Ambelin, and join us soon over at #LoveOzYAbookclub for discussion of this month’s book!





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