Welcome to The Quick Six Interview with Rosanne Hawke!

It’s wonderful to welcome accomplished, award-winning author, Rosanne Hawke to the blog! Today she shares the third companion to Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll and Jehan and the Quest of the Lost DogFozia and the Quest of Prince Zal; a moving middle grade novel of survival, kindness and family, based on her own experiences in Pakistan and the effects the floods had on the people there. Thanks for being here, Rosanne! 🙂

About the Author

Rosanne Hawke is a SA author of 30 books for young people. She has been a teacher, an aid-worker in Pakistan & UAE, and a lecturer in creative writing at Tabor Adelaide. Her books explore cultural and social issues, history and mystery. She often writes of displacement and reconciliation and tells stories of children unheard. Her novels include Shahana: Through My Eyes, a CBCA Notable Book and Taj and the Great Camel Trek, winner of the Adelaide Festival Award for Children’s Literature. Her other books include 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 AwardsShe is the 2015 recipient of the Nance Donkin Award; an Asialink, Carclew, Varuna and May Gibbs Fellow; and a Bard of Cornwall. She has taught creative writing at Tabor Adelaide and writes in an old Cornish farmhouse with underground rooms, near Kapunda.

Please follow Rosanne Hawke at her website: Rosanne Hawke

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WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal was written by Rosanne Hawke; illustrations and cover by Briony Stewart and published by UQP.

WHAT is it about?

This story is about twelve-year-old Fozia who is living in the aftermath of Pakistan’s worst flood with the family of her friend, Jehan. She wants to find someone from her own family and she is fearful that she’ll need to work at the brick kiln to pay her parents’ debt.

What is your favourite part of this book?

Maybe when Fozia realises that she can do something to help her family’s debt situation and starts crocheting a carpet to sell online, but mostly when she discovers that she is loved unconditionally.

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

In late 2017 I realised this would be Fozia’s story, that she had one to tell. I began a journal in 2018 then drew mind maps, and did research. By the end of April, 2019, I had the first draft. 

When is its release / launch date?

The release date is March 30th 2021. Launch date 2nd May 2021.

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll, the first book in this flood series was originally inspired by stories I told my daughter when she was 10. A few years ago, she asked me to write a novel using those stories. We couldn’t remember them all and I created a new storyline and decided to set it during the 2010 flood. I knew of friends who were helping build houses there for those who lost theirs. Jehan and the Quest of the Lost Dog was inspired by a journalist’s photo I saw when researching Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll. Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal came about because I discovered Fozia also had a story to tell.

WHY is this book meaningful to you?

Firstly, because I lived in Pakistan and nearby areas for 10 years and learned to love the culture and people. I was saddened when so many were affected by the flood. I also am interested in helping cure people of leprosy and saving people from bonded labour. Overall, it’s meaningful for me as I hope the story shows the kindness that people in difficult situations can have for each other.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

We all live in relationship with others and would like to be kind and have people be kind to us. Fozia tells a story to help the boys and also herself. We all love stories and are shaped by our stories. I’m sure Fozia’s story would resonate with readers of all ages.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I love the beautiful cover and internal illustrations. As Fozia is older than Kelsey or Jehan I asked if the cover could suit an older readership and I believe it does. The colours are stunning and the movement in the cover makes me want to open the book each time I see it. The internal pics are so thoughtful and show important moments in the story.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal has been promoted on Facebook, Twitter and on the web and can be bought from any bookstore, online or physical. Or, from the publisher: University of Queensland Press.

  • Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal is also available for purchase at Booktopia.

OTHER information you’d like to share?

Link to Teachers’ Notes

Find out more about brick kilns and bonded labour here.

Thank you so much, Rosanne! It’s been a pleasure and an honour.

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