Overwhelmed by a world in conflict over faith

Overwhelmed by a world in conflict over faith
Susanne Gervay

Why did you write Elephants Have Wings?

I get overwhelmed by a world in conflict over faith, ethnicity, culture, power. Young people get even more overwhelmed

They have little experience to navigate and interpret the world. I wanted to create a gentle story in a safe and beautiful space, grounded in family that invites children and adults to discuss beliefs and ways towards global harmony.

On my visits to India and Asia I became filled with the diversity of cultures and faiths – Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Baha’i, Sufism with so many variations. The parable of the blind men and the elephant is integral to many of these beliefs where blind men or men in the dark are arguing over their truths. Then there is light and they see that they were holding onto the one elephant.

The Indian-Asian mythologies are rich with elephants – the Hindu elephant god Ganesh; the elephants that hold up the universe; Buddha reborn as a white elephant, the Divine Elephant. The story that wouldn’t let me go was in Hindu mythology where flying elephants bring monsoon rains to replenish the earth. On the wings of elephants there is new life.

My Indian-Asian experiences and search for harmony melded into a passion to write ‘Elephants Have Wings’ which took three years to create.
What is the Blake Prize and why is its logo on Elephants Have Wings’?

Blake Prize endorses Elephants Have WingsThe Blake Prize was created in 1951, by a Jesuit priest and a Jewish artist in a post-world war. They wanted to open dialogue and engagement through art over spirituality of all faiths and beliefs. In 2008 this was extended to included poetry.

It is a great honour that The Blake Prize has chosen ‘Elephants Have Wings’ to reach to young people. www.blakeprize.com.au

BUZZ WORDS Interview 1st December 2014.

Elephants Have Wings by Susanne gervay and Anna Pignataro

I'm a writer committed to kids in particular. Adults are good too. Want to bring hope through story to my readers. Awarded an Order of Australia, Lady Cutler Award and a Lifetime International Award for Literacy for my body of work, spreading literacy is really important. I'm head of SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand, patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, Ambassador for the Premier's Reading Challenge, Writer Ambassador for Room to Read ... among other roles. I also love heritage and adapting to enhance the lives of people today, which is why I restored The Hughenden Hotel 1870s and The Residences Centennial Park - the only homes in the parklands which are open now for accommodation, events and lots of nature.


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