‘VAGABOND’ has been selected by several Australian high schools as their grade 11 and 12 examination text, contrasted with the mega-classic ‘THE ALCHEMIST’, by Paulo Coehlo. I’m very happy and proud that some of Australia’s best education providers have seen the merits of ‘VAGABOND’ beyond entertainment.
A little while back, I was invited to speak to grade 11 and 12 students at St. Kevin’s College, Toorak, Melbourne – one of the country’s leading private schools – about my debut novel. This time around, I am honoured and humbled to be invited to do the same at Al Siraat College, after being invited by head of English Mr. Mohammed Azim.
Mr. Mohammed Azim was honoured by the Teaching Australia – AITSL for National Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award in 2009. In 2011, he became the first Muslim teacher ever to win the National Excellence in Teaching Awards supported by the Australian Scholarship Group.
In 2011, Mr. Mohammed Azim was declared as one of the Top 10 teachers in all of Australia, an outstanding honour.
‘VAGABOND’ is unique – it wasn’t written as a commercial form of literary escapism, but rather in the spirit of books that have the power to change the reader. Readers of ‘THE ALCHEMIST’ and ‘THE ZAHIR’ by Paulo Coehlo may very well enjoy it. Travelers and readers of ‘THE BEACH’ by Alex Garland will love it. Somewhere along the way, ‘VAGABOND’ picked up steam by itself with little-to-no-promotion.
Writing is a hard game. It takes an immense amount of energy, creativity, analysis, packaging, plot development, character development, and theme routing – and contrary to popular opinion, there isn’t much money in it. Like any art, writing is a labour of love and the greatest reward is when somebody takes a couple of weeks out of their lives to read your words, and then tells you how much it changed their outlook on life.
Thank you to Mr. Mohammed Azim and Al Siraat College for seeing value in a book that was written with passion, wanderlust, and hope – it has reminded me why I picked up a pen in the first place: To share the very real perspective of one person in a world of billions, who believes that life isn’t a social construct to be sucked into, but rather an adventure to be lived.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow, what a ride!'” – Hunter S. Thompson