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Karen Ginnane
Grade 5- Year 10

Karen self-published ahead of the curve at the age of ten in her home town of Perth in Western Australia. Since A Horse Named Ginger was released, Karen has been variously employed as a freelance copywriter, a marketing director for Paramount Pictures in London, a grain weighbridge operator in rural WA, a swimming teacher, a life model, a deckhand in Chile and an English teacher in Japan. 

She is now an author for middle grade and young adult readers. Penguin Random House Australia published her debut novel, When Days Tilt, in July 2021 and will publish the sequel, When Souls Tear, in July 2022. These historical fantasy adventures, set in Victorian London and a parallel city, are part of the Time Catchers series. Karen attended an Invited Residency to Varuna Writers House in 2021 for When Souls Tear. 

She’s interested in looking at old stories in new ways and runs a workshop on using history or real life as a jumping off point for fantasy. She finds that the strange and tilted never seem to be far from the surface. When not writing, Karen runs a tour operator business with her husband, who she met in London. She lives in Melbourne with him, their two children and two cats.

Karen’s writing workshop is interactive, structured and engaging. Students will find themselves well down their fantasy writing pathways in less than an hour. Using her own writing journey as a stimulus she prompts students to use their unique experiences to begin a story in their comfortable, known world. Then she helps them to open new doors of possibility.

The workshop subtitle, “From real to weird”, isn’t just marketing. This is how she gets students flexing their imaginative muscles. With a series of prompts she guides young writers to move from description to creativity in easy steps. And it’s all disguised, to begin with, as a discussion about Big Ben.

Karen worked with my Y7 class for fifty minutes and I can’t imagine a better introduction to the fantasy writing genre. I’m looking forward to the next term of magic and imagination.

Sasha Kober, English and Humanities Teacher
Princes Hill Secondary College

Books by Karen Ginnane

When Days Tilt

Best Suited 11+ Years
Magic, mystery and darkness – a gripping fantasy adventure for lovers of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. In this page-turning debut, one girl must figure out why she is the key to two worlds, before time itself falls under the control of the powerful and the greedy.

A historical fantasy adventure for teens set between Victorian London and a darker parallel city.

It’s 1858, and there are two queens on the throne. Victoria reigns over London, the biggest city the world has ever known. But London has a secret shadow city, called Donlon, where another queen, the Green Witch, rules her own domain – time.

London is in turmoil. The Thames is at the height of the Great Stink; a blazing comet is searing the sky; technology is moving so fast it seems otherworldly; and the city is exploding with more people than it can hold. Darwin is about to publish his theory of evolution and humanity’s very place in the world is in question. On top of all this, people are disappearing into thin air. If they return, it is with empty eyes and torn souls, never to be the same again. Ava, a fourteen-year-old Londoner, feels trapped by the limited life of a young Victorian woman and by her watchmaking apprenticeship with her father. Her predictable world is turned upside down when she discovers that the body in her mother’s grave is not her mother, but a stranger.

When Ava goes in search of her real mother and her true identity, she is thrust into the dark world of Donlon and must fight a battle to save those she loves and the future of both worlds.

When Souls Tear

Best Suited 11+ Years
It’s 1858, Ava is back in London and time snatchers are still at large. Ava is no closer to completing the task her mother set her – destroying the remaining time snatchers and ending snatching in two worlds.  With her father and Phoebe suffering the effects of being torn and Jack back in Donlon, Ava is on her own. She finds that even her developing powers as Time Daughter are not enough to fight a new foe – who has terrifying, destructive abilities and ambitions of absolute power.

When the Name Tree Sings

Best Suited 10-12 Years

All trees hold stories, but this one sings them when the wind passes through. It is a comfort, is it not, to know our stories are all kept safe in this tree?

Zain has a lot to worry about. He has a new school to adjust to, and now his class has a new teacher, the mysterious Mrs. Sharyar. At home, Zain’s mum isn’t feeling like herself, and his dad just doesn’t seem to understand.

But all is not lost. The magic of stories might just be the way for Zain to find his voice and start to bring his family back together.

The PM Post-Level 30 texts are aimed at students in Upper Primary/Lower Secondary, and have a more complex, sophisticated style of writing, with higher-order sentence structures and concepts. These texts expose students to higher-level, advanced vocabulary and language features. They are intended to provide opportunities for students to engage with authentic texts, while being exposed to different text types.

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