Launch Speech for The Last Virgin in Year 10

It was such an honour to have  Christobel Mattingley to launch 'The Last Virgin in Year 10'  
Christobel Mattingley's LAUNCH SPEECH FOR THE 'LAST VIRGIN IN YEAR 10',  17 November 2006 at Tabor Adelaide, SA.

Rosanne and I have known each other since 1995.  We met at a Christian Librarians' Conference where I was speaking.  Rosanne had had her first book published, but was finding the way forward a rocky road.  I recognised in her the passion and integrity of a true writer and tried to encourage her with the advice I give to all aspiring writers.  To become a published author takes PASSION + PATIENCE + PERSEVERANCE +  PERSISTENCE + PRAYER.
As a Christian I believe that writing is a calling.  Rosanne is a committed Christian.

Rosanne has  persevered.  She has gone on from strength to strength, overcoming rejections, setbacks and other disappointments and now has 14 titles published.  She has won recognition for her work.  'Soraya the Storyteller' was shortlisted in the CBC Awards 2005,and in the SA Festival Awards 2006; and commended in the Victorian Premier's Awards.  'Wolfchild' was shortlisted in the Aurealis Awards, and in the Cornish Holyer An Gof Award in 2004. 'Across the Creek' won the same award in 2005.

Now with 'The Last Virgin in Year 10'  Rosanne's voice has hit the high C.

'The Last Virgin in Year 10'  is challenging, confronting, compelling.  It's a contemporary story of adolescent confusion and choices.  Its characters are convincing, cool and uncool.  Cassandra, 15, wants to be with the in crowd.  But she is uncomfortable with her conscience.  There's a Cornish connection, of course, and a Celtic thread, city and country customs and values, clubs too – night club, surf club and a youth club in a café.  There's kissing and what comes after.

Rosanne cleverly combines family and school, church and beach scenes, poetry, music lessons and concerts.  Two canine characters romp through the story.  The true hero canters in on a white charger, sweeping Caz up with him, setting her on course.  

From her experience in conducting writing workshops for secondary students, Rosanne's use of teen talk and thought is confident.  She handles Caz's identity crisis with insight and compassion.  Caz, who saw herself as the ugly duckling, never fitting in, suddenly takes off with the help of caring friends and family.

'The Last Virgin in Year 10' will take off too, flying into hearts and homes, minds and schools.  It will bring comfort and reassurance to many young readers and their grateful mentors.  I am proud to launch her on her flight.

Congratulations, Rosanne!  When I first met you, you were a cygnet seeking your way in the wide waters of writing.  Now you are a fully fledged swan and your books are winging their way across the world.  I wish 'The Last virgin in Year 10'  God Speed!

Christobel Mattingley
17 November, 2006

* 'Christobel Mattingley is one of Australia's most respected and admired writers.  She writes as she lives, with compassion, sincerity and a firm commitment to social justice.  Her books on the effects of war on people, especially refugees, (e.g. The Angel with a mouth organ, the Asmir trilogy) are compelling narratives of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances, and she has also completed a major history work on the Aborigines [sic] of South Australia (Survival in our own land : 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836 / told by Nungas and others)

Christobel was the winner of the 1999 Pheme Tanner Award for her life of contribution to children's literature.'

This is an excerpt from the Latrobe uni site, URL below. However, Christobel has also been awarded an AOM for her contributin to literature and also an honourary docorate.

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