Shipwrecks and Pirates at Kyilla

Books by Elaine Forrestal on display at Kyilla Primary School

There I was at Kyilla Primary School telling real stories of shipwrecks, pirates and lost treasure, as part of my week as Writer-in-Residence, when I discovered that two of the students at the school had actually been marooned on a tiny isolated island for five months! They were sailing the world with their parents when their yacht suffered a disabling incident. Although they were all safe, they could not go anywhere and were forced to survive by living off the land, as the native inhabitants of the island do. So the stories from my books, Straggler’s Reef and Black Jack Anderson were only too real for them.

During my stay at Kyilla each of the students wrote a story of their own. Naturally these two girls, whose mother has written a book about their experiences, had plenty of ideas and experiences to draw on. Other students wrote about a range of different things. Each class had an introductory workshop to get them started and a polishing workshop, a day or two later, to bring their stories up to publication standard. The innovative and hardworking members of the school P&C Association plan to collect up the stories and publish them in an anthology. The finished book will be sold to raise money for school facilities.

I, for one, can’t wait to read the stories in their published form.

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