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Equations Author Returns to Inspiring School


Kenneth Tam returned to his old junior high school, Father Leonard Van Tighem, last week, and spoke to close to 200 students about writing and his time there. Tam, who spent much of May traveling from Newfoundland to Alberta to promote his Equations novels, says he greatly enjoyed the visit to Lethbridge, Alberta.

“It was great to be back,” Tam explains. “That school, Father Van Tighem, really nurtured my novel writing aspirations from the very beginning. I owe a lot to the staff and students I knew here, and I wanted to share that with the latest generation of FLVT students.”

Tam attended Van Tighem, a school on Lethbridge’s west side, for grades 7, 8 and 9, and says that his visit to Lethbridge centered around returning to the school.

“I talked to many students in Newfoundland at the beginning of May,” Tam said, “but at FLVT I had a unique advantage — many of the staff and administrators were the same as when I was there, so I could tell stories about how some of my teachers, now their teachers, helped me along the way with my writing.”

Tam credits Van Tighem staff like now-Principal Greg Noyes, Language Arts teacher Marlene Stasiuk, and Librarian Helen McAllindon with inspiring and supporting his creative endeavors at the school.

“I used to edit manuscripts in the same library where I spent this morning speaking to classes,” Tam smiles. “It seemed the perfect place to be when encouraging students to take at interest in writing, and to hold a small event to thank my friends and the readers in Lethbridge for their support.”

Tam’s Equations series is a science fiction adventure set some 700 years in the future, featuring humanity and humanity’s successors in an interstellar struggle against alien races across the cosmos.

“It really sounds a lot stranger than it is,” Tam comments. “It’s basically just a story about good people defending what they believe in, and the response has been great because the concepts and the characters are easy to relate to.”

At the beginning of May, Tam launched the pocket paperback editions of his first three novels in St. John’s, with an event at the Johnson Geo Centre, and visited classes in St. John’s and the surrounding area to talk about writing. He also ran a day-long workshop for junior high students at Villanova Junior High in Manuels, Newfoundland.

Tam’s fourth Equations novel, The Earther Equation, will be released in July, coinciding with his attendance at Toronto Trek 19 as an author guest. Toronto Trek, Canada’s largest science fiction event, will be held July 15-17.

After Toronto Trek, Tam says he’ll be taking a break from promotions.

“I’m in the middle of drafting the seventh Equations novel, so I’ll finish that one and then we’ll get The Genesis Equation (the fifth entry in the series) ready for May of 2006.”