On Wednesday 19 October, Clonard alumni (Class of 2014) Kgshak Akec came to speak to students in the library about the publication of her debut novel, Hopeless Kingdom, published by UWA Press. Kgshak spoke about her cultural homeland of Sudan, her schooling and emigration to Australia with her family. Her novel explores some similar territory to the migrant journey of her family, however, the novel is notable for its inventive dual point of view structure and lyrical descriptions of Sudan, Cairo, Sydney and Australia.

Hopeless Kingdom was awarded the 2021 Dorothy Hewitt Award for an unpublished manuscript with UWA Press. It is a novel about family, mother daughter relationships, about a Sudanese girl’s journey to adulthood in Australia, and it is a novel with evocative descriptions of Norlane and Corio where the family lives in Geelong.

Students listened to Kgshak explain parts of her writing journey, the many drafts of the novel that she wrote and her trepidation in writing a story that was deeply personal and then sharing that story with the wider community. A range of perceptive questions were asked by students and one lucky student walked away with a copy of the novel for asking the best question.

Clonard Library was immensely proud to have Kgshak speak to students about her novel and the writing process, and from our research it appears that Kgshak is the first Clonard student to have had a novel published. Check out Hopeless Kingdom, available in all bookstores.