A friend sent me a clipping a few weeks ago from the Cobram Courier, the local paper of where we used to live. For those who don’t know it, Cobram is a small town (about 4000 people when we lived there, though I think it’s grown a fair bit since) in the Goulburn Valley irrigation farming area of northern Victoria (Australia) Of course since we had a dairy farm we didn’t even live in Cobram; we were about a ten minute drive out in an area called Yarroweyah.
The clipping was a lovely little note congratulating me on the film and mentioned that although I’d been a writer when I lived in Yarroweyah, my career had really taken off since we moved closer to Melbourne. Of course this is true in the sense of the film happening.
But I felt that I really wanted kids to know – not just in Yarroweyah or Cobram, but any small towns around the world, when you sometimes feel that great things can only be accomplished in big cities – Nim’s Island, the first Australian children’s book to become a Hollywood feature film, was written and published when I lived in Yarroweyah. (Ark in the Park, which won a CBCA Book of the Year (junior readers) was written when we lived at Yalca, another tiny farming area.) Where I lived didn’t make the slightest bit of difference to Paula Mazur picking the book up in a Santa Monica library, or to Walden Media’s decision to film it.
So it doesn’t matter where you live – what’s important is to follow your dream the very best way you can.
Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio