Melbournian Suzy Zail worked as a solicitor specialising in litigation. After the birth of her first child, Suzy left law to concentrate on writing. She’s an award-winning author of children’s books published in Australia, Canada and the United States. She began the harrowing journey into her fathers past when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He shared previously unknown details of his childhood spent surviving a German concentration camp before becoming a refugee in Australia. Her father’s story influenced The Tattooed Flower and The Wrong Boy.
Years later, the 2014 abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation opposed to girls’ education, haunted Suzie. She wondered what she could do, not just for the hundreds of terrified girls held at gunpoint but for the millions of girls scattered around the globe who are being denied an education.
Nalini Haynes reviewed Suzy Zail’s book I Am Change.
The podcast is at the top of the page. Due to technical difficulties, there is no video version of this interview.
Welcome Suzy Zail.
Writing doesn’t pay as well as being a lawyer. Why did you quit?
Lionel Shriver says authors should put one over on their readers, testing the limits of what they can get away with instead of researching when writing fiction. Why did you go to Uganda?
Tell us about I Am Change.
This is after writing about the holocaust. Why do you pick such light topics for your novels?
What are your influences?
I Am Change is a sad story but it’s also a story of hope. The girls I met in Uganda are poor but they are fierce and determined. They don’t need our pity. They will shape their own future, if given the tools. Story isn’t the answer, but it’s a place to start. A way to spark action. As Namukasa says in her beautiful forward to the book: ‘Things can change. Me and my friends will make them change. We just need some help.’
Suzy can be found at
You can help girls like Lillian; donate to
- Help Girls Learn, Uganda https://www.mycause.com.au/page/106767/help-girls-learn-uganda
- Girl Child Network, Uganda http://www.gcnuganda.org.
- AAFCAD www.affcad.org
- Girls Not Brides https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/take-action/
- Concern for the Girl Child http://www.concernforgirlchild.or.ug
- The Uganda Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health https://www.uyafpah.org/
I Am Change
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Imprint: Black Dog Books, Walker Australia-HEDS
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Format: Paperback, pp. 340 plus extras
Category: fiction, Young Adult