Wendy Orr

Wendy OrrWendy Orr talks to Nalini in the above podcast and the below video.

Photo of Wendy Orr by Roger Gould.

Wendy grew up in France, Canada and USA. She was a compulsive reader and writer from an early age, and now writes for children, young adults and adults. Her books have been published in 25 countries and languages and have won awards including the CBC (Australian) Book of the Year, American Library Association Book for older readers, and the Israeli March of Books. Wendy also worked on the screenplay that turned her book Nim’s Island into a 2008 Hollywood feature film starring Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler. The sequel, Nim at Sea, is now in production, with Bindi Irwin starring as Nim. (Or not: it was released in 2014. I should have consulted IMDB.)

Her latest book, Dragonfly Song, is about to be released by Allen & Unwin in Australia.

Wendy can be found on


These are the planned interview questions, many of which Wendy Orr answered without being asked.

Before we talk about your latest novel, we need to address the elephant in the room for your long-running fans. You’re best known for Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea; what can you tell us about those books and the movies?

On to your next novel, Dragonfly Song. What can you tell us about this story?

Nim is a child version of Robinson Crusoe set this century while Aissa is almost a G-rated version of the woman in Clan of the Cave Bear except she’s spying on people to learn traditional skills denied her; how did such similar yet different characters come to you?

timharrisbooks asked, “What was the seed that started the idea for Dragonfly Song?”

You did a lot of research for Dragonfly Song. How long did it take to write the novel and what proportion of that time was spent doing research?

Aissa’s mother rejects Aissa because she’s born with two thumbs on either hand and you have minor characters with acquired disabilities. What are your thoughts on disabilities, difference and representation in literature?

Mia and Niko are bull dancer trainers. They’re both disabled and yet they’re described as being strong, even fierce. Why?

You were forced to resign from your career as an occupational therapist because of an injury; has this experience impacted upon your representation of disability?

Are you trying to convey a message to children who are isolated from their peers?

What stories and writers do you enjoy?

From other people’s stories, who is your favourite character and why?

What’s next for you?