Author Nick Taussig lends his support and introduces the Pelican Post to another phenomenal read inspired by real events…

09Oct11

The team here at Pelican Post Towers are delighted to receive an endorsement of support fom the thought provoking and very talented author and film producer Nick Taussig.  Nick is the author of four critically acclaimed novels; love and Mayhem, Don Don,the Distinguished Assassin and Gorilla Geurrilla.  

Always gripping and provocative in equal measure – one of Nicks works – Gorilla Geurrilla  was recently featured at the Pelican Post stand at Camp Bestival, and has also has been supplied to partner school classroom libraries in schools in Ghana and Kenya (more to follow on a future blog).

Gorilla Geurrilla tells the story of two twelve year old orphans – Kibwe a young boy soldier and Zuberi a young silverback gorilla both on the run from the violent hand of man.  The novel explores the best and worst of human nature in the light of our ape inheritance and given its mature themes did certainly raise interesting debate as to its how this book would be received by a young adult (YA) audience in schools in Africa. 

Of course the beautiful thing about books as fellow supporting author Beverley Naidoo once said, is that they go on journeys for whoever reads them, and a key mission for the Pelican Post is to provide the catalyst to motivate, inspire and question young minds whatever the subject matter.   This is an area where teenage fiction author Ellen Hopkins whole heartedly agrees; “I don’t believe hiding behind pretty fiction will make the things we’re afraid of go away.  Facing our fears head on is how we conquer them, and that goes for our children too.”   (quote courtesy of Words with Jam; www.wordswithjam.co.uk – thanks Catriona!)

And as Nick goes on to advocate, todays young generation are tomorrow’s leaders…

“Books are vital for children. They stir their hearts and minds. And what better place to nurture young minds than in Africa, a continent in great need of better governance, which young readers of books provided by Pelican Post might one day be able to provide.”

Like “The Garbage King” by Elizabeth Llaird – another YA read featured on our reading list,  Gorilla Geurrilla is a tale inspired by real events as told by Nicks meeting with Ojok Charles –  a ten year old boy who was captured in 2002 by the cult Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda and forced to commit attrocities against his will on behalf of the rebel group.  In the case of Ojok, his story fortunately had a happy outcome and he managed to escape to relive his story to Nick.   In Nick’s own words…

“When I finished writing I returned to Uganda. I was anxious to see Ojok, to give him a copy of the book. Back at school, I’d heard that he was near the top of his class. I waited at the school gates. It had rained that morning, but now the grey sky was slowly clearing, the sun pushing through a black bank of clouds. A young man walked towards me: he was smiling.”

Ojok was fortunate enough to have found support in a charitable foundation in Uganda called Outside the Dream which helps former child soliders get back to school.  Sadly, for many kidnapped children forced to become rebel soldiers in various parts of Africa such as in the Congo, the chances of escape and of obtaining a basic level of education are slim.

Such encounters with children like Ojok not only inspired Nick’s to write his critically acclaimed novel but also to establish The Mtaala Foundation (www.mtaala.org) – a charity which creates and supports educational communities for vulnerable children and at-risk youth, including those affected by poverty, war, and HIV/AIDS by empowering youth through learning and giving back to their community.   It partners with individuals and villages in Uganda to create secondary schools where none exist, and connects the schools’ students with international sponsors and organisations such as The Pelican Post to provide resource support and fund their educations.

To read more about Ojok’s story and the inspiration behind Gorilla Geurrilla, please visit http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/innocence-lost-the-child-soldiers-forced-to-murder-1052026.html

For more information about the work of The Mtaala Foundation in Uganda, please visit www.mtaala.org

Apart from writing criticaly acclaimed novels, Nick also heads up an entertainment production company – Gunslinger Entertainment and is up for two award nominations for the film “Sket”  at this years BFI (British Film Institute) London Film Festival opening on Wednesday 12th October 2011.  Very best of luck Nick!

For more information about Nick Taussig, his other critically acclaimed novels, or about his film production company Gunslinger go visit www.nicktaussig.com

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