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Will Kostakis

Author

Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults and younger readers. He splits his time between writing, touring Australian schools and working as a journalist.

His debut novel, Loathing Lola was released when he was just 19, and his second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards. The Sidekicks is his third novel for young adults.

In his talks to secondary students, Will balances anecdotes – like how he got a book deal in Year 12 – with practical creative writing advice, as he explains the influences behind his novels. He also reflects on his career working as a celebrity journalist and in reality TV. Will is comfortable tailoring his presentation to suit the needs of the audience.

In his workshops, Will focuses on writing engaging short stories and voice – drawing on the skills that saw him win Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year in 2005.

In his talks to primary students, Will tries to tackle the impossible: “Where do ideas come from?” He walks kids through his process to battle a blank page, and then explains the behind-the-scenes process of getting a book made, using his chapter book Stuff Happens: Sean as the basis.

What themes are recurring in your work?

The First Third is an intimate portrait of a broken Greek-Australian family and the boy tasked with repairing it. The book looks at mortality, identity and the pressures of ‘growing up’. It is aimed at readers of both genders in Years 9 and above.

Loathing Lola follows the exploits of Australia’s latest teenaged reality TV star, dealing humorously with bias in the media, concerns of image, identity and perception. It is aimed at readers of both genders in Years 9 and above.

What have been the highlights of your career?

In 2005, I won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a series of short stories. In 2010, Loathing Lola was shortlisted for the Sakura Medal (Older Readers) in Japan, and made the Get Reading official selection.

Where have your works been published?

I’ve written for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABR, Reading Time, Newswrite, and am currently a freelance journalist and web producer for NineMSN.

Testimonials

We loved having Will visit us last week. We only attracted a small group of 10 (the weather that evening was terrible), but it was fantastic! It was a mix of teens, parents and librarians who were all there specifically to meet him and hear him speak. Will arranged everyone in a circle and engaged with each person directly during his funny, inspiring and interesting talk. Will is a natural storyteller – everything from stories of his little Greek grandmother to classroom antics from his school days – and all related to his development as an aspiring and developing author. He encouraged everyone to consider the question ‘What if…?’ when creating stories, and to live life doing what you love. He showed everyone what a book looks like during the editing process (various files with notes, changes and suggestions from his editor and himself), and also how the appearance of a book can change from the first PDF version to the final published version (for example fonts, layout). He was very generous with his time – chatting, answering questions, signing books and posing for photos. He’s so easy going and relaxed and that gave the participants the confidence to contribute to the session. I can’t speak highly enough of him as a guest speaker.

—S. Gasperino, Public Library Service, Victoria, August 2017

They (students) absolutely loved it – they found Will to be really engaging and amusing! They enjoyed his personal anecdotes and his advice about getting into writing. A fantastic speaker who did a brilliant job!

—E. Bruty, St. Columba's College, August 2017

I wanted to thank you for recommending Will to be a guest speaker at our school. He was greatly loved by the kids and so many wanted to read his books

—N. Kudsi, Caringbah High School, July 2013

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