About the Author
Now a resident of Victoria, Australia, Wendy Orr grew up in Canada, France and the United States. She knew from a young age that she wanted to become an author, and completed a draft of the story that would become Nim’s Island when she was only nine years old.
Wendy began writing seriously in 1986, and her books have since been published in 25 countries. Over the course of her literary career she has received numerous accolades, including a spot on the American Library Association’s Best of the Best list, recognizing the top 100 books of the past 50 years.
Wendy generously agreed to allow us to adapt some of the wonderful content from her e-book, Nim’s Island: Excellent Stuff to Make, Cook, Read, Do for the Return to Nim’s Island activity guide. Wendy collaborated with her readers around the world to create the e-book, published as a fundraiser to benefit one of her favorite organizations, Australia’s Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The ILF advocates and raises funds for Indigenous literacy, to improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. The entire book is available for download here. You can visit Wendy online at wendyorr.com.
On Set Interview with Wendy Orr, Author of Nim's Island
I loved a lot of books when I was young, but I think my favorite was probably Anne of Green Gables. It’s the first book that I can remember reading to myself and really actively being that character. I identified with Anne, who I really had nothing in common with except that she wanted to be a writer. And that, I think, really validated my burning desire to be an author. So, that was quite powerful.
When I was eight, I wrote a sort of first draft of Nim’s Island. We used to take a ferry to visit my grandparents, and we’d pass these little islands on the way. I decided it’d be really lovely to live on one of these little islands off the coast of British Columbia. It would actually probably not be that easy for a small child to survive on one. But I wrote a story, and because of Anne of Green Gables, it was about an orphan running away from her orphanage to go and live on one of those tiny islands.
When I was writing Nim, forty years or something later, I started it as a series of emails and journals. It wasn’t really coming to life, and son on about the seventh draft, I suddenly started remembering being the child who wrote this story, Spring Island. And that was when it really came to life, the feeling of wanting to make things and be on an island and, you know, find things and do neat things and be self-sufficient. And that was when the story really came to life for me.
I think that we can all be a lot braver than we think. We’re all capable of so much more than we think. And, I’d really like kids to remember that, because sometimes the world seems so big. I don’t want children to feel that the world is such a scary place that they are powerless, because they can do a lot and look after themselves in many ways.