Author and screenwriter Sofie Laguna was guest speaker at the ‘Read Like A Girl’ series. Riverbend Books owner, Suzy Wilson interviewed Sofie gleaning insights into her writing process and her latest book ‘The Choke’. Over half the audience had read her book, and by the end of her author talk, all books had almost sold out. Some 80 people learned of the success of the ‘Read Like A Girl’ program since its inception. From 2017, it had tripled the rate of girls borrowing books. ‘Read Like A Girl’ was a partnership between St Rita’s, Alvernia and Riverbend Books. Sofie ran 3 x 1 hour workshops about character development, plot writing techniques for St Rita’s and St John Fisher students during the series.
Riverbend Books owner Suzy Wilson knows her authors well. She had a personal love for Sofie Laguna’s style of writing. ‘It’s beautiful even and flowing…’ with its single narrative voice and character driven themes.
Sofie said in whatever genre she has written – picture book, middle grade or adult fiction, she is ‘one and the same’ storyteller. As the ‘one storyteller’, she considers the concerns of the character, playing with language, listening to sound of story flow, and economical dialogue to further the story. No matter what, she still stays true to the story. In moving the story forward, ‘there always has to be consistency. I feel for the music in language, rhythm of the story and structure.’
Sofie hadn’t considered it ‘a leap’ when she kept her own name in writing between genres. From picture books (eg., My Yellow Blanky), to middle grade (eg., Saving Grace – Australian girls series), adult fiction (eg., The Eye of Sheep and The Choke) Sofie never saw it as a leap, rather as a natural progression.
Sofie Laguna’s novel, ‘The Choke’ has sped up the charts after her second novel for adults, ‘The Eye of the Sheep’ – shortlisted for the Stella Prize – won the 2015 Miles Franklin Award. ‘The Eye of the Sheep’ was optioned for film and theatre. Sofie’s first adult novel, ‘One Foot Wrong’ was published throughout Europe, US and UK. It was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Screen rights have been optioned and Sofie has completed the screenplay.
Sofie Laguna’s numerous books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award, and her books have been named Honour Books and Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.