Author Shelan visits Kings Oxford
Students at Kings Oxford were very fortunate to have a visit from writer Shelan Rodger last week. Shelan is not only a twice-published author, and has written her third novel, but she is also a Kings Regional Director.
Shelan spoke to students and staff about her experience of living all over the world at different times in her life, from growing up in Africa and Australia, to studying in the UK before spending time in South America and now Spain.
This has partly informed the key themes of her writing, such as identity and truth, into which she gave us an insight, commenting on the tension between identity and nationality. This, or our country of birth, does not necessarily define us as much as the places where we have lived and the experiences we have had.
After she posed a thought-provoking set of questions, we reflected that our identity and behaviour can also change according to where we are and who we are with.
This was followed by some insightful questions from students and staff for Shelan. These included asking about the writing process and inspiration for storylines, as well as the role her own experiences play in her work.
She tends to use places she has travelled to or lived in — such as the stunning Iguazu Falls on the Argentine border which feature in her first novel Twin Truths — as settings for her plots, and even told us how some of the events she wrote about in her novels went on to happen in real life afterwards.
Shelan ended the session with a particularly apt quote and question for our students to ponder at this seminal time in their lives, transitioning from dependence to independence, from their home countries to the UK, and about to move to the next stage of their education: "Can we ever know ourselves, or do we only do so through the way others see us?"