perth college english week author talk

Powerful. Poignant. Fascinating.

Those are just some of the words our Year 8 students used to describe a special guest presentation from author Noel Zihabamwe last week.

Noel is the co-author of the young adult novel, ‘One Thousand Hills’, which the Year 8 students are currently studying.

He spoke to classes over Skype on Wednesday and Thursday to kick start English Week, leaving students mesmerised.

‘One Thousand Hills’ is set in Rwanda at the beginning of the 1994 genocide which claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people in three months.

Noel, who witnessed the horrendous events with his own eyes, explored many dark childhood memories to write the book with co-author, James Roy.

He spoke to students last week about everything from government tensions to refugees, asylum seekers and activism.

Students heard Noel’s difficult journey first-hand – his experience of the genocide, how he fled Rwanda, and his eventual move to Australia.

“I am a proud Australian,” Noel said.

“We are lucky to be in Australia… and feel safe in your own country.”

After a guest appearance from Noel’s young son that brought smiles to the faces of all the girls, Noel encouraged the students to create a positive future for themselves, and the world.

“You are the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

“The young generation will change things for the better.”