Amani Gunawardana migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka when she was five years old. She studied at Deakin University, Melbourne, and obtained a degree in teaching. Being a busy mum of three little children, she loves writing stories in her spare time and enjoys reading children’s stories that are quirky, imaginative, and fun. Amani has also been a very prolific author with Library For All, donating many stories that are in different phases of the publishing stage. We've been lucky enough to publish four of her titles so far including "Cam's Eyebrows", "Fruit Jam", "Click" and "Little Miss Quick-Fix".
Amani kindly took some time to answer a few questions for us about her life and work.
Library For All works with authors and illustrators from around the world to create our responsive, relevant and diverse library.
Q. How did you become interested in writing?
A. I’m a huge fan of children’s literature. I grew up reading Enid Blyton, Paul Jennings and Roald Dahl. During primary school, I remember having wonderful parent helpers who would come into the classroom and type up our stories (on a typewriter) as we dictated our work. Thereafter, we were able to illustrate our books and share them across the cohort as take-home readers. This experience only cemented my passion for writing, especially writing for children.
Q. How did you hear about Library For All?
A. I heard about Library for All through an open submission call. After visiting the Library For All website and reading through the mission statement of providing free educational resources for all children, I realised it’s something that is close to my heart, that being my interest in children’s books and education. The digital library is an initiative that I wanted to contribute towards, and I will continue to support LFA as it grows from strength to strength.
Q. What is it that inspires you to write for Library For All?
A. Library For All is having a profound impact on children’s lives. Working as primary school teacher, I have seen first-hand how access to educational resources plays a vital role in a child’s development and fosters their love of reading and learning.
Inspiration, for me, is hoping that, somewhere in the world, I have made a difference and put a smile on a child’s face. It’s knowing that the digital library will have a significant impact on the lives of many children, and I am truly grateful to be a part of it.
Q. What has been your experience writing for Library For All?
A. Lara, Isabella and the team at Library for All have been fantastic! They’re always happy to answer any questions relating to the publishing process and make it a point to email through some sneak peaks of the story illustrations, prior to the book being available through the digital library.
They’re a dedicated and passionate organisation who are working tirelessly towards acquiring potential stories for a worthy cause. I encourage anyone that is interested in writing to put their pen and paper to good use.
Q. What tips do you have for aspiring writers of children’s stories?
A. As an aspiring writer myself, I would encourage other writers to, firstly, keep a notepad or phone nearby, as inspiration could come from anywhere. And secondly, to continue writing even if the fear of rejection is paramount.
I would also encourage aspiring writers to read widely, and attend as many workshops and festivals as possible, to refine your craft. And most of all, write for pleasure -enjoy the process of creating something that is uniquely you!