By Russell Hirsch
Kenneth Oppel is one of Canada’s leading authors for young adults. His Silverwing series about the adventures of migrating bats captivated a generation of readers and earned him the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award in both 1998 and 2000. In 2004, Ken won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature with his novel Airborn. Born in 1967 in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Ken grew up in Victoria, BC and Halifax, NS. After publishing his first novel, Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure, at age 17, he obtained a degree in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Toronto. He has lived in England, Ireland and Newfoundland and is now based in Toronto. I had the opportunity to hear Ken talk to the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable last October and was inspired to touch base with him.
What’s the earliest story you remember writing as a kid and what were the books or films influencing you at the time?
In grade five I launched into a sci-fi epic called Starship (later retitled Rebellion) which was a shameless rip off of Star Wars. I lived and breathed Star Wars at that time. I wrote many chapters in a Hilroy school exercise book before abandoning it.