'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 21 April 2020

12 Curly Questions with author Emily Conolan

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I love creepy-crawlies — spiders, snakes, anything. But my favourites are stick insects, and I used to keep a big tank of them in my bedroom. When I became tired of writing I could sit and watch them eating their old dead skins.

2. What is your nickname?
My dad calls me E, most of my friends call me Em, and my best friend from when I was three calls me Erm-ball. But only she is allowed to call me that, so don’t even try.

3. What is your greatest fear?
I’m afraid of humans. Individually, we’re pretty nice, but as a species, we’re wrecking the planet.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Exciting, heartfelt, interactive, surprising, informative, full of twists and turns.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
I’m courageous, dedicated, relevant, imaginative, and compassionate.

6. What book character would you be, and why?

That’s a very hard question, because many of my favourite characters lead tormented lives that I wouldn’t want to have as my own! But I think I’d make a good Sophie from The BFG, or Hermione from Harry Potter. Both nerdy and powerful girls. I’d never marry Ron Weasley though. Sorry, Ron.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Oooh, this is too hard, I’ll have to give you a shortlist:
I’d travel back about 40 years to see my mum, as she died when I was young.
I’d travel forward a hundred or so years to see how humans are dealing with the climate crisis.
I’d travel back to an ancient civilisation... but which one? It’s too hard to choose!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
She’d probably give me a high-five for actually being a writer — something I’ve wanted to be since I was about four. No doubt she’d be full of questions about her own future. I don’t think I’d disappoint her too much. She’d inspire me. We’d get on great.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
All the amazing people who have shared their stories with me — from asylum seeker, refugee, and Aboriginal communities — who help me understand their perspective for The Freedom Finders.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I think it was my mum. She would write down stories that I told her, then encouraged me to write my own. I still have the first book I wrote and illustrated from when I was four. It’s about a cat with a sting in its tail who fights off a burglar.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
I like all the onomatopoeic words, like bang, boom, swish, ka-splosh.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If it was an adult’s book, then The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. A kid’s book: The BFG, by Roald Dahl.

Emily Conolan is a writer and teacher, who is also known for her humanitarian work. For her role in establishing a volunteer support network for asylum seekers in Tasmania, she has been awarded Tasmanian of the Year, Hobart Citizen of the Year, and the Tasmanian Human Rights Award. The stories of courage and resilience she has heard in the course of her work with refugees, combined with tales from her own family history, inspired her to write the Freedom Finders series. The third installment, Move the Mountains, was released in August 2019. For more information, see www.emilyconolan.com.au.