Award – winning book author admits several book rejections from publishers 

By Kaye Villanueva

First time in Dubai, Candy Gourlay inspires Grade 7A and 8A students of The Philippine School Dubai. . Her debut novel Tall Story (2010) won the National Children's Book Award of the Philippines in 2012 and the Crystal Kite Award for Europe in 2011.

First time in Dubai, Candy Gourlay inspires Grade 7A and 8A students of The Philippine School Dubai. . Her debut novel Tall Story (2010) won the National Children’s Book Award of the Philippines in 2012 and the Crystal Kite Award for Europe in 2011.

March 9, 2017 – Candy Gourlay, an award winning Filipino author based in the United Kingdom, visited The Philippine School Dubai. She shared tips for aspiring writers as well as teaching resources about her books.

                        Gourlay told the story of her journey in life and being a Filipino author based in the United Kingdom. She was born and raised in the Philippines. Before working as an author, she worked as a journalist in the Philippines, notably in the time of the late President Marcos and  during the People Power Revolution. When she was still a little girl, reading became her hobby, because she felt like she was in that fantasy world. “Between the pages of that book, I can go anywhere in the world,” she said. She also met lovely husband, Richard Gourlay, during the revolution as he was a foreign journalist.

                    When she was a journalist, she discovered that she can do better and that her true passion is about writing books. Her first book was titled “The Baby Who Could Read.” She was so thrilled because that was her first volume but the publisher rejected it. She did not give up and created a new one named “Lazy Mazy” but once again the publisher rejected it. Candy even wrote a novel that took 5 long years to finish that, and it was still rejected. Even though she had received a couple of rejections in her books, she used this as an inspiration to develop her work and just kept on writing. Finally, the time came. “Tall Story” was her first published book in 2010. It is about a girl that really wants to see her long lost half-brother Bernardo, who is as fanatic about basketball as she is. She hasn’t seen him for ten years, but even so, how did he get so tall like a giant? This story won the National Children’s Book Award in the Philippines. Her second published book was “Shine, ” a kind of mysterious story. This book also won a Crystal Kite Award.

During the whole seminar, here are some of the notable questions from TPSians. “Do you have any plans of making a book about your love story since you have an interesting one?

” She answered “No, I don’t because I have to remember all the things that happened at that time. I want to write my novels first.”

“Are there any words you would like to say to future writers?

“One word: READ. You have to read in order to write,” she said. Candy left encouraging words to the students. She concluded that you cannot write unless you read. “The more you write, the more it gets better, ” she clarified.


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