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Local University Student Follows Writing Dream


Nineteen-year-old Kenneth Tam, a second-year, full-time Honors History student at Wilfrid Laurier University, is going back to high school. But this time he won’t be attending classes; instead Tam will be launching his first science fiction novel, The Human Equation, in the the school library. Penned before he finished grade 10, the novel is the first in what is intended to be an eight-part series. He’s already completed the first drafts of the next four.

“Holding the book launch at my old high school has special meaning,” Tam says. “I did a lot of the first-round editing in the school library, and had quite a lot of support from the teachers who knew about my interest in writing. I’m very grateful for that, and for St. David allowing me to hold the launch there. There’s a special connection.”

“We wish Kenneth the best as he launches his new novel, The Human Equation,” says Dan Forestell, Principal of St. David Catholic Secondary School. “The staff are extremely proud of Kenneth’s accomplishments – he always excelled academically while enrolled as a student at St. David and it comes as no surprise that he continues his high standard of excellence.”

“This high standard is demonstrated in his new novel,” Forestell continues. “I am confident that Kenneth will continue to excel in his future endeavours.”

The Human Equation joins the story of humanity 700 years in the future. Driven from the planet six centuries earlier by a self-aware virus, humanity is seeking to reclaim its home. The return, however, is more complex than expected, as the humans find they’ve been replaced as Earth’s dominant species. And now, as the humans attempt to reconquer their historical world, this new race — the Earthers — seek to defend the planet against destructive forces from the past.

Filled with conflict and discovery, as well as “the obligatory space and ground battles that readers such as myself demand of military sci-fi,” Tam says the book is both a warning and a wish — a warning about what could happen should humanity continue down its current path; a wish for a different way of life, a different human equation.”

If being a 19-year-old who has written five full-length novels isn’t unusual enough, Tam has also taken on the role of publisher. “We’re a family of writers and storytellers,” Tam says, “and when my mother’s unpublished manuscript was in such demand that we began selling coil-bound photocopies, we decided to put our heads together and start a publishing company.”

“Iceberg Publishing allows us to keep complete creative control. We have a clear vision for our work, and we’re lucky enough to have the skills to execute that vision,” Tam continues. “It’s incredibly satisfying to see a project through from start to finish.”

And the Iceberg Publishing partnership, built around Tam’s family, abounds with the necessary experience to run the company. The senior partner, Tam’s mother Jacqui, has won numerous awards for writing, editing and publication production over her more than 20-year career in communications and marketing. Tam’s father Peter, has extensive business and coaching experience. Tam himself works part-time with Laurier Athletics as a sports information assistant/graphic designer.

In addition to his university studies, his part-time work, his writing and publishing efforts, Tam is developing writing workshops which he plans to offer to schools.

“A lot of people find writing difficult,” Tam says. “I’d like to do what I can to help cultivate the skills of students who like to write but may be hesitant, and at the same time, help take some of the pain out of the process for those who find writing to be a bit of chore.”

The book launch will be held in the St. David Catholic Secondary School Library from 7-9:30 p.m., Thursday, October 9, 2003. The Human Equation is the second book published by Iceberg. Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift, was released in September 2002, and the second Equations novel, The Alien Equation, is scheduled for release in Winter 2004.